Implicit measures of actual versus ideal body image: Relations with self-reported body dissatisfaction and dieting behaviors

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Abstract

Body dissatisfaction refers to a negative appreciation of one’s own body stemming from a discrepancy between how one perceives his/her body (actual body image) and how he/she wants it to be (ideal body image). To circumvent the limitations of self-report measures of body image, measures were developed that allow for a distinction between actual and ideal body image at the implicit level. The first goal of the present study was to investigate whether self-reported body dissatisfaction is related to implicit measures of actual and ideal body image as captured by the Relational Responding Task (RRT). Secondly, we examined whether these RRT measures were related to several indices of dieting behavior. Women high in body dissatisfaction (n = 30) were characterized by relatively strong implicit I-am-fat beliefs, whereas their implicit I-want-to-be-thinner beliefs were similar to individuals low in body dissatisfaction (n = 37). Implicit body image beliefs showed no added value over explicit body image beliefs in predicting body dissatisfaction and dieting behavior. These findings support the idea that the interplay between ideal and actual body image drives (self-reported) body dissatisfaction. However, strong support for the view that it would be critical to differentiate between explicit and implicit body image beliefs is missing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622–635
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume42
Issue number5
Early online date16-May-2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2018

Keywords

  • EATING-DISORDER EXAMINATION
  • ASSOCIATION TEST
  • THIN-IDEAL
  • ANOREXIA-NERVOSA
  • ATTITUDES
  • QUESTIONNAIRE
  • PATHOLOGY
  • INTERNALIZATION
  • MAINTENANCE
  • BELIEFS

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