The Sociocultural Model of Eating Disorders in New Zealand Women: Family Food-Related Experiences and Self-Compassion as Moderators.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Eating disorders are debilitating psychiatric conditions which often result in severe impairment in many life domains. The sociocultural model specifies mechanisms through which sociocultural pressure leads to eating pathology among young women (Stice, 1994) and posits that exposure to the Western cultural thin ideal, internalization of the ideal and experience of a difference between self and ideal leads to body dissatisfaction, which is a well validated precursor to eating pathology. The current research examined whether the relationships between awareness of Western appearance ideals, internalization of such ideals, and body dissatisfaction were moderated by family food-related experiences and self-compassion. The current paper also investigated whether the strength of relationships between awareness of Western appearance ideals, internalization of such ideals, and body dissatisfaction are affected by certain types of family food-related experiences. Female university students (N = 106) completed self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that mindfulness, a constituent of self-compassion, moderated the relationship between internalization of cultural thinness standards and body dissatisfaction. In addition, self-compassion, each component of self-compassion and women’s perception of negative maternal family food-related experiences predicted internalization of Western societal norms of thinness, as well as body dissatisfaction. Moreover, women’s perception of negative paternal family food-related experiences predicted body dissatisfaction. Women’s perception of negative maternal commentary predicted internalization of Western beauty standards and body dissatisfaction. Finally, women’s perception of negative paternal commentary and paternal modelling of eating difficulties and body image concerns predicted internalization of those values. Future research should attempt to clarify causal relationships among self-compassion and family food-related experiences within the sociocultural model of eating disorders.