Examining Predictors of Body Appreciation and Positive Well-Being Among Young Adults: Perspectives from Positive Psychology

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Marmara, Joshua (2022) Examining Predictors of Body Appreciation and Positive Well-Being Among Young Adults: Perspectives from Positive Psychology. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Research examining factors that promote body appreciation and mental health through the positive psychology lens is in its infancy. Several factors that are inversely related to body dissatisfaction, including self-compassion and physical activity, can be facilitating factors for positive body image. However, research is required to confirm this, as well as to provide a broader and better-integrated model of multiple factors influencing positive body image and well-being than research to date has offered. The primary aim of the present research was to examine factors that contribute to positive body image and mental health in adults using a positive psychology framework; that is, adopting the perspective that optimal mental health is not simply the absence of symptoms, and that it can be achieved through promoting beneficial psychological constructs and processes rather than eliminating unhelpful ones. Factors examined included self-compassion and planned physical activity levels. This dissertation comprised three studies (cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental) designed to progressively build an evidence base to contribute to improvements in both theory and treatment. Results from this study indicated that factors including self-compassion and planned physical activity contributed to an enhancement in body appreciation and positive well-being; and prospectively, self-compassion and body appreciation showed partial support for a reciprocal model, though the effects over time were slightly stronger for self-compassion predicting body appreciation. However, there was limited support for the efficacy of a self-compassion meditation intervention, which must be interpreted with caution due to small effect sizes and some methodological limitations. Understanding how feeling good about one’s body – as opposed to not feeling bad about one’s body – has beneficial implications for one’s general well-being.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/44701
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5203 Clinical and health psychology
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords body image, mental health, adults, positive psychology, self-compassion, physical activity, body appreciation, well-being
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