Self-Compassion and Body Dissatisfaction in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Meditation Intervention

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction is a major source of suffering among women of all ages. One potential factor that could mitigate body dissatisfaction is self-compassion, a construct that is garnering increasing research attention due to its strong association with psychological health. This study investigated whether a brief 3-week period of self-compassion meditation training would improve body satisfaction in a multigenerational group of women. Participants were randomized either to the meditation intervention group (N = 98; M age = 38.42) or to a waitlist control group (N = 130; M age = 36.42). Results suggested that compared to the control group, intervention participants experienced significantly greater reductions in body dissatisfaction, body shame, and contingent self-worth based on appearance, as well as greater gains in self-compassion and body appreciation. All improvements were maintained when assessed 3 months later. Self-compassion meditation may be a useful and cost-effective means of improving body image in adult women.

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Correspondence to Ellen R. Albertson.

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Albertson, E.R., Neff, K.D. & Dill-Shackleford, K.E. Self-Compassion and Body Dissatisfaction in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Meditation Intervention. Mindfulness 6, 444–454 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0277-3

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Keywords

  • Self-compassion
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Body image
  • Body shame
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Body appreciation