Additive and interactive associations among body appreciation, self-compassion, and gender in understanding college students’ health behaviors

Kristin J. August, Dua Malik, Charlotte H. Markey, Kristen Woods, Geneva C. Gerwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Body appreciation and self-compassion are associated with each other and individually associated with important health behaviors. Less is known about their combined associations with health behaviors, although previous work has examined self-compassion as a moderator of negative body image experiences. Self-compassion may likewise amplify the positive association between body appreciation and engagement in healthy behaviors. In this study, we examined the additive and interactive associations of body appreciation and self-compassion with three health behaviors (physical activity, sleep, stress management activities) among 302 college students from a northeastern university in the United States. We further examined gender differences in key variables and in associations among body appreciation, self-compassion, and health behaviors. We found that body appreciation was independently associated with physical activity and stress management activities, with the association stronger for men than women. We also found that self-compassion was independently associated with sleep and stress management activities. Body appreciation and self-compassion did not interact in predicting any health behaviors. Findings from this study highlight the unique associations of body appreciation and self-compassion with different health behaviors and underscore the need to increase body appreciation and self-compassion among college students to promote overall health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101634
JournalBody Image
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology

Keywords

  • Body appreciation
  • College students
  • Physical activity
  • Self-compassion
  • Sleep
  • Stress management

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