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Friday, March 6 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
Does awareness breed contempt?: Self-consciousness, social comparison, and mindfulness as mediators between self-discrepancies and body satisfaction

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A vast majority of girls/women are dissatisfied with their bodies, which can lead to serious physical and psychological issues (Holmqvist & Frisen, 2010; Myers & Crowther, 2009). Body satisfaction is an affective response to the cognitive evaluation of the difference between women’s perceived body shape and their ideals (i.e. body image discrepancy) (Cafri, van den Berg, & Brannick, 2010). However, a woman’s awareness that her body does not conform to an ideal does not necessarily mean that she will dislike herself. Several cognitive factors may intercede in this process. Public self-consciousness reflects excessive, focused attention and concern about being evaluated by others, particularly with regards to appearance (Theron, Nel, & Lubbe, 1991). Social comparison is a reflexive, evaluative process that is inherently related to perceived body discrepancies and predicts body dissatisfaction (e.g., McIntyre & Eisenstadt, 2011). Mindfulness, which includes an awareness of internal states without judgment, is negatively related to social comparison (Langer, Pirson, & Delizonna, 2010) and may have a protective effect on body satisfaction (e.g., Fink, Foran, Sweeney, & O’Hea, 2009). Therefore, the goal of the current study was to examine these factors as possible mediators between body discrepancies and body satisfaction. Female college students (N = 469) completed a battery of measures couched within a study of “marketing strategies and consumer behavior.” SEM analyses showed that social comparison, self-consciousness, and two of the five mindfulness dimensions (“describing inner experiences,” “non-judgment of experiences or reactions”) were significant mediators between the cognitive assessment of self-discrepancy and the affective consequence of body satisfaction (model R2 = .44) in predicted directions. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for understanding these social-cognitive processes that can most significantly and directly affect body satisfaction.

Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm PST