The relationship between focussing on body functionality and body satisfaction : the moderating role of neuroticism and social comparison orientation
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
When people assess their body image, they tend to engage in negative evaluations which lead to body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction has many harmful consequences including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It is also the main causal factor of eating disorders. It is has been suggested that using a body functionality approach to assess one’s body may lead to more positive evaluations. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between focussing on body functionality and body satisfaction, and to investigate the moderating role of neuroticism and social comparison orientation. This study involved 131 females aged 18 to 35 years. Participants completed three online questionnaires over three weeks. At test-day (week 2) participants completed a writing task in which they either wrote about their body image, body functionality, or control. Results found that the body functionality group did not increase their body satisfaction over time. Participants high in neuroticism reported lower body satisfaction. It was also found that participants in the body image group reported lower self-esteem, and those in the body functionality group reported lower self-objectification over time. The results from this study can be related to current psychological theories about body satisfaction.