Margaux E. Blanchard, Rebecca Helfant, Do Yee Song, Sara Lin, and Lauren A. Stutts
Faculty Sponsor: Lauren Stutts
Self-compassion has been shown to be associated with having higher body satisfaction. However, minimal research has explored what subscales of self-compassion contribute the most to one’s body image. This study examined which components of self-compassion (self-kindness, self-judgment, common humanity, isolation, mindfulness, and over-identification) were the strongest predictors of body satisfaction and explored gender differences in self-compassion and weight-related behaviors. Participants included 350 individuals (53% men; 47% women) from the general population who completed measures of self-compassion, body satisfaction, and weight-related behaviors. All subscales of self-compassion were significantly related to body satisfaction in the expected directions. Relative weight analyses indicated that self-judgment, over-identification, and isolation were the strongest predictors of lower body satisfaction. Women had higher levels of self-kindness than men, t (341) = 2.36, p = .019, Cohen’s d = 0.25, but there were not any other gender differences in the subscales of self-compassion, which is contrary to the literature. Women had lower body satisfaction than men, t (341) = 3.37, p = .001, Cohen’s d = 0.36, and had a higher frequency of thinking about weight, t (342) = 3.68 p < .001, Cohen’s d = 0.40, and trying to lose weight than men, t (343) = 4.02 p < .001, Cohen’s d = 0.43. These findings highlight the role of negative self-perception on body satisfaction, which could be targeted in designing interventions for individuals who struggle with body image. Gender differences in self-compassion should also be evaluated further.