A Randomised Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of Self-Compassion Meditations on Women's Body Image

Amy J. de Wet, Ben R. Lane, Kate E. Mulgrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although research has suggested that body image improves following self-compassion meditation training, studies have been limited due to the use of a wait-list control group. This study therefore compared the effects of self-compassion meditations to an active control group. Seventy young adult women (17-35 years) were randomly assigned to receive either self-compassion or nature-focused guided imagery meditations. Over one week, participants engaged in two meditations and completed pre- and post-test measures of trait self-compassion, body appreciation, body shame, and appearance-contingent self-worth. A mixed design analysis of variance revealed a main effect of time; women in both meditation groups demonstrated significant increases in self-compassion and body appreciation, and significant reductions in body shame. No effect was found for appearance-contingent self-worth. There were no interactions or main effects for group. Self-compassion may improve body image in women, although there was no evidence for an advantage of self-compassion over guided imagery meditations. Common elements between self-compassion and guided imagery may be a mechanism for improving body image. However, further research is warranted to isolate the effects of these meditations from other specific and non-specific treatment effects. (This study was pre-registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12618001814268).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalBody Image
Volume35
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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