The benefits of being self-compassionate on days when interactions with body-focused others are frequent

Body Image. 2016 Dec;19:195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Oct 29.


We examined whether a woman's level of self-compassion on a given day (within-persons) and over a week (between-persons) influenced her eating, body image, and affect in the face of frequent daily and/or weekly interactions with body-focused others. For seven nights, 92 female undergraduates reported on their daily social interactions, self-compassion, body image, eating, and affect. On days when women were less self-compassionate than usual, frequent interactions with body-focused others were associated with more body image concerns and negative affect, and less body appreciation and intuitive eating. However, these relationships were absent or inversed on days when women were more self-compassionate than usual. Self-compassion played a similar buffering role at the between-persons level. Results suggest that by treating themselves with a higher degree of self-compassion than what is typical for them, young women may be able to maintain healthier approaches to eating and body image when faced with body image threats.

Keywords: Body appreciation; Body image; Intuitive eating; Self-compassion; Social interactions; Within persons.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Self Concept*
  • Young Adult