The moderating role of self-compassion on weight and shape concerns and eating pathology: A longitudinal study
About this resource
Objective The present study employed a longitudinal design to examine the moderating role of self?compassion in the relationship between weight/shape concerns and the outcomes of eating pathology and stress in a diverse college student population. Method Participants were 765 students who completed measures of self?compassion, weight/shape concerns, eating pathology, and stress over their first 2 years of college. We tested whether self?compassion attenuated the relation between weight/shape concerns at the beginning of college and eating pathology, and stress later in college. Results For the first year of college, self?compassion significantly moderated the relationship of weight/shape concerns and eating pathology. For participants who were low in self?compassion, there was a stronger relationship between weight/shape concerns and disordered eating; whereas, for individuals high in self?compassion, there was a weaker relationship between weight/shape concerns and disordered eating. However, these findings did not replicate for the second year of college. Self?compassion also significantly moderated the relationship between weight/shape concerns and stress for the first year of college, though the relationship was complex and warrants further research. Discussion Our findings suggest that high self?compassion may reduce the likelihood that undergraduate students with weight/shape concerns will engage in disordered eating behavior in the first year of college. They also highlight the influence of self?compassion on general stress.
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