A new approach to regulation of body-image discrepancies: examining associations between self-talk and personality

OLIVER, Emily and FLINT, Stuart (2013). A new approach to regulation of body-image discrepancies: examining associations between self-talk and personality. In: Psychology Serving Humanity: Science. (In Press)

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Body image discrepancies influence both body dissatisfaction and likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviours, such as eating disorders. What is poorly understood, however, are the cognitive mechanisms by which individuals seek to reduce discrepancies, that is, the way in which they regulate their pursuit or avoidance of projected selves. Furthermore, individual-level antecedents of goal-directed self-talk (e.g., personality, goal states) have received limited previous examination. Thus, the present study examined predictors of individuals’ use of motivationally adaptive versus inhibitive ways of self-regulating, and how these might differentially relate to body-image discrepancies. An opportunistic sample of 116 individuals (49 males, 67 females), completed a battery of questionnaires measuring body fatness discrepancies, self-talk, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Personality dimensions were related to self-talk in the manner expected, with conscientiousness positively related to informational self-talk, and neuroticism predicting the use of more controlling, pressurising, and amotivational self-talk. Contrary to hypotheses, ideal-actual discrepancies predicted the use of less informational self-talk, and more controlling and amotivational self-talk. This suggests that in the context of body image discrepancies, the pursuit of the ideal self is regulated in a more controlling way when the goal state is distal. By identifying for the first time the relationships between goal-discrepancies and how individuals interpret their associated cognition, this study should serve as a starting point for further research examining the modification of body image concerns through targeted cognitive interventions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science
Depositing User: Rachel Davison
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2013 09:05
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2015 15:16
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7189

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