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The shield of self-compassion: a buffer against disordered eating risk from physical appearance perfectionism

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Abstract

General perfectionistic tendencies as well as perfectionism focussed specifically on one’s physical appearance have been implicated as risk factors for disordered eating. This study extends previous research on protective factors by investigating self-compassion as a moderator of the relationship between both general and physical-appearance-perfectionism and disordered eating. A cross-sectional online survey assessed general perfectionism, physical-appearance-perfectionism, disordered eating symptoms, self-compassion and negative affect in female UK university students (N = 421). Results showed physical-appearance-perfectionism explained variance (15%) in disordered eating symptoms above general perfectionism and negative affect. Both perfectionistic concerns about and strivings for appearance perfection were significant unique predictors of disordered eating. Self-compassion moderated the relationship between both perfectionistic concerns and strivings of physical-appearance-perfectionism, but not general perfectionism, and disordered eating. This study suggests both perfectionistic concerns about and strivings for appearance perfection represent potential risk factors for disordered eating among female university students and that self-compassion may reduce their impact.
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0227564
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2020

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