The acceptance model of intuitive eating: a comparison of women in emerging adulthood, early adulthood, and middle adulthood

J Couns Psychol. 2011 Jan;58(1):110-125. doi: 10.1037/a0022129.


The acceptance model of intuitive eating (Avalos & Tylka, 2006) posits that body acceptance by others helps women appreciate their body and resist adopting an observer's perspective of their body, which contribute to their eating intuitively/adaptively. We extended this model by integrating body mass index (BMI) into its structure and investigating it with emerging (ages 18-25 years old, n = 318), early (ages 26-39 years old, n = 238), and middle (ages 40-65 years old, n = 245) adult women. Multiple-group analysis revealed that this model fit the data for all age groups. Body appreciation and resistance to adopt an observer's perspective mediated the body acceptance by others-intuitive eating link. Body acceptance by others mediated the social support-body appreciation and BMI-body appreciation links. Early and middle adult women had stronger negative BMI-body acceptance by others and BMI-intuitive eating relationships and a stronger positive body acceptance by others-body appreciation relationship than emerging adult women. Early adult women had a stronger positive resistance to adopt observer's perspective-body appreciation relationship than emerging and middle adult women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Character
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Individuality
  • Internal-External Control
  • Intuition*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Satiety Response
  • Young Adult