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Social safeness and disordered eating: Exploring underlying mechanisms of body appreciation and inflexible eating

  • Catarina Pinto
  • Cláudia Ferreira
  • Ana Laura MendesEmail author
  • Inês A. Trindade
Original Article

Abstract

Feelings of social safeness and connectedness have been associated with adaptive emotion regulation processes and well-being indicators. Further, literature has demonstrated that interpersonal experiences play an important role in the etiology and maintenance of body and eating psychopathology. However, the study of the role of social variables and emotion regulation processes in the engagement in inflexible eating rules and eating psychopathology is still in its early stages. The current study aims to fill some gaps within the literature and explore the mediator role of body appreciation and inflexible eating rules in the link between social safeness and disordered eating. Participants were 253 women, aged between 18 and 50 years old, who completed a series of online self-report measures. Results from the tested path analysis model showed that social safeness holds a significant effect on eating psychopathology, through the mechanisms of body appreciation and inflexible eating rules. Also, results suggested that women who present higher levels of social safeness tend to present a more positive and respectful attitude towards their body and decreased adoption of inflexible eating rules, which seem to explain lower levels of disordered eating behaviours. These findings seem to present empirical support for the development of intervention programs that promote a positive, affectionate and healthy relationship with one’s body image, in order to prevent the inflexible adherence to eating rules and disordered eating behaviours.

Keywords

Social safeness Body appreciation Inflexible eating rules Disordered eating 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catarina Pinto
    • 1
  • Cláudia Ferreira
    • 1
  • Ana Laura Mendes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Inês A. Trindade
    • 1
  1. 1.CINEICC, Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da EducaçãoUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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