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18-03-2021 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 5/2021

Mindfulness 5/2021

Self-Compassion, Internalized Weight Stigma, Psychological Well-Being, and Eating Behaviors in Women

Tijdschrift:
Mindfulness > Uitgave 5/2021
Auteurs:
Erin M. Fekete, Rose E. Herndier, Alison C. Sander
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Abstract

Objectives

Research suggests that directing compassion inward (i.e., self-compassion) is related to better psychological and physical well-being. Little research attention has focused on the links between self-compassion and internalized weight stigma. Internalized weight stigma, or devaluing oneself because of one’s body weight, is pervasive across women regardless of their weight and is particularly detrimental to psychological and physical well-being.

Methods

This study examined the indirect effects of self-compassion on maladaptive eating behaviors through lower levels of internalized weight stigma and increased psychological well-being in a sample of 266 women. Women completed an online questionnaire assessing self-compassion, internalized weight stigma, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and emotional and restrained eating.

Results

Self-compassion was associated with lower levels of internalized weight stigma, which in turn was associated with fewer depressive symptoms and less anxiety. Contrary to expectations, self-compassion was not associated with eating behaviors through the sequence of internalized weight stigma and psychological well-being. However, self-compassion was associated with less emotional and restrained eating through lower internalized weight stigma.

Conclusions

The link between self-compassion and fewer maladaptive eating behaviors was explained by internalized weight stigma alone, as opposed to a sequence of internalized weight stigma and psychological well-being.

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