Body image in emerging adults: The protective role of self-compassion Academic Article uri icon


  • Self-compassion is thought to protect from body image concerns. However, the mechanisms of this effect remain unclear. This study examined three positive dimensions of self-compassion as moderators of the mediated relationship between perceived overweight status, appearance comparison, and appearance esteem. A sample of 232 youth aged 13-18 years, mean=18.36 (SD=1.5) years, reported on appearance esteem, appearance comparison, perceived weight status, and self-compassion dimensions including self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Among boys, mindfulness and common humanity moderated the perceived weight status to appearance comparison pathway of the mediation (ps=.01), such that this relationship was weaker among boys with higher levels of these dimensions of self-compassion. These findings were not replicated among girls. None of the self-compassion dimensions moderated the appearance comparison to appearance esteem pathway. Self-compassion dimensions that decrease the focus on the self may protect against body image concerns among boys.


  • Rodgers, Rachel F
  • Franko, Debra L
  • Donovan, Elizabeth
  • Cousineau, Tara
  • Yates, Kayla
  • McGowan, Kayla
  • Cook, Elizabeth
  • Lowy, Alice S

publication date

  • 2017