Can Self-Determination Help Protect Women Against Sociocultural Influences About Body Image and Reduce Their Risk of Experiencing Bulimic Symptoms


According to the sociocultural approach of eating pathology, the more women perceive sociocultural pressures about body image, the more they endorse society's beliefs related to thinness and obesity which in turn, is associated with greater body dissatisfaction. Also, the more dissatisfied women are about their body image, the more they report bulimic symptoms. In the present study, the same sequence of variables was tested with the addition of a Global Self-Determination variable to examine why sociocultural pressures are associated with bulimic symptomatology in only a subset of women. Participants (N = 300) consisted of female university students. Analyses revealed that the more women were globally self-determined towards the different aspects of their life, the less they perceived sociocultural pressures about body image, the less they endorsed society's beliefs related to thinness and obesity, and the less they experienced bulimic symptoms. These findings suggest that a global self-determined motivational profile in life could possibly act as a buffer against sociocultural influences about body image and decrease women's risk of experiencing bulimic symptoms.



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Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology