Body dissatisfaction and selective attention to thin-ideal bodies: The moderating role of attentional control

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Abstract

It has been widely hypothesised that elevated body dissatisfaction is characterised by a biased pattern of attentional selectivity that reflects increased attention to stimuli portraying the thin-ideal. Empirical evidence in support of this notion, however, has been inconsistent. The current study aimed to examine the potential moderating role of attentional control in the association between body dissatisfaction and selective attentional responding to thin-ideal bodies. Female undergraduate students (N = 232) completed a self-report measure of body dissatisfaction followed by performance-based measures of attentional control and selective attention. Results provided support for the moderating role of attentional control. Specifically, a positive association between body dissatisfaction and biased selective attention towards thin-ideal bodies was evident only amongst individuals with relatively low levels of attentional control. A general association between body dissatisfaction and selective attention was not observed. These findings may explain previous inconsistent findings and highlight the importance of considering the potential role of attentional control in the expression of body dissatisfaction-linked attentional responding to thin-ideal bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
JournalBody Image
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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