Trait body shame predicts health outcomes in college women: A longitudinal investigation
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Trait body shame impacts psychological health, but its influence on physical health heretofore has not been examined. While body shame may be expected to impact physical health through many mechanisms, this investigation tested whether trait body shame predicts physical health outcomes by promoting negative attitudes toward bodily processes, thereby diminishing health evaluation and ultimately impacting physical health. Correlational (Study 1, N = 177) and longitudinal (Study 2, N = 141) studies tested hypotheses that trait body shame would predict infections, self-rated health, and symptoms, and that body responsiveness and health evaluation would mediate these relationships. In Study 1, trait body shame predicted all three poor health outcomes, and body responsiveness and health evaluation mediated these relationships. Study 2 partially replicated these results while controlling for depression, smoking, and BMI, and longitudinal analyses supported the temporal precedence of trait body shame in the proposed model. Limitations and alternative pathways are discussed.
KeywordsTrait body shame Body responsiveness Health evaluation Health outcomes Self-rated health
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Jean M. Lamont declares that she does not have any conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and Informed consent
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
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