A wealth of evidence indicates that self-compassion is linked to positive psychological outcomes; however, little is known about the role of self-compassion in adolescent eating pathology. The primary purpose of this research was to investigate the relationships between self-compassion, psychological distress, body satisfaction, and eating pathology in high school students (Study One, community sample, n = 238; 43.7% male) and female adolescent patients with eating disorders (Study Two, clinical sample, n = 58). All participants completed the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-5), Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS), and Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire - Adolescent Version (EDE-Q) at baseline. The community sample completed the SCL-5, BASS, and EDE-Q four months later. In both studies, self-compassion predicted body satisfaction and/or eating pathology through psychological distress. In comparison to females in the community sample, self-compassion was higher in males and lower in female patients with eating disorders. Altogether, results underscore how self-compassion may be an important factor to target in fostering a positive body image and preventing disordered eating in adolescents.
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Thesis advisor: Zaitsoff, Shannon
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