Deakin University

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Longitudinal association between self-compassion and intuitive eating: Testing emotion regulation and body image flexibility as mediating variables

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-14, 02:47 authored by Mariel MesserMariel Messer, S Lee, Jake LinardonJake Linardon
Objectives: Growing evidence suggests that intuitive eating is associated with numerous positive mental health and well-being constructs. Understanding factors that predict intuitive eating is necessary for identifying practical targets to enhance this style of eating, yet research identifying such predictors is scarce. Self-compassion is one variable that could enhance intuitive eating because it involves the practice of healthy emotion regulation skills that may disrupt the tendency to turn to food to cope during distressing situations. The present study tested for a longitudinal association between self-compassion and intuitive eating. We also tested whether this association was mediated by indices of emotion regulation (i.e., global emotion regulation skill scores and body image flexibility). Method: Adult women (n = 3039) were invited to completed study measures at baseline (T1), 4-month follow-up (T2), and 8-month follow-up (T3). Path analyses were computed to test hypothesized indirect effects. Results: A direct path from T1 self-compassion to T3 intuitive eating emerged, such that higher self-compassion levels predicted increased intuitive eating over time. However, this association was not mediated by T2 emotion regulation skills nor body image flexibility. Conclusion: Findings suggest that self-compassion may facilitate an intuitive eating style, which does not appear to be explained by certain emotion regulation skills.



Journal of Clinical Psychology


United States







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal