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Body shame and self-efficacy as common mechanisms predicting body appreciation among women in their emerging and established adulthood

Although body image evolves lifelong depending on internal and external factors such as ageing, physical health, and competency, research mainly focuses on adolescent and young adult females and mostly neglects ageing women. While negative body image is associated with body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, body appreciation as a core component of positive body image is considered as a protective factor.

This study investigated self-efficacy, body surveillance, body shame, and body control beliefs as potential factors in predicting body appreciation among women in emerging adulthood (N= 208) and established adulthood (N= 176). Participants filled out questionnaires measuring body appreciation, self-efficacy, and body objectification under approval of ethics committee of MEF University.

Results showed that the women in emerging adulthood and in established adulthood only differed in self-efficacy body surveillance and body shame scores. Multiple regression analysis revealed that body shame, body surveillance, body control beliefs, and self-efficacy significantly predicted body appreciation for emerging adulthood explaining 61% of the total variance. For established adulthood, only body shame and self-efficacy significantly predicted body appreciation explaining the 51% of the total variance. Thus, body surveillance and body control beliefs may play less role on body appreciation of women with the increased age. It is believed that the current findings contribute to an understanding of potential mechanism of body appreciation, thereby suggest a direction for intervention promoting positive body image.

Naz Ulukaya

I am a senior year Psychology student at the MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey. I am currently working as a research assistant at the Positive Organizational Behavior Lab at MEF University. I am particularly involved in a qualitative study investigating perceptions of LGBTQ+ individuals about inclusions and diversity within the organizational context. After taking the eating disorders course taught by Başak İnce, PhD, I have started to be interested in improving my knowledge and research experience in this field.

Correspondingly, under the supervision of Başak İnce PhD and Aliye Canan Taşlıoğlu Sayıner, MSc, I took part in the research project focusing on predictors of body appreciation for different age groups.