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Body Image. 2019 Mar;28:135-141. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2019.01.004. Epub 2019 Jan 18.

Religion and spirituality: Pathways to positive body image.

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School of Psychology, Flinders University, Australia. Electronic address:
School of Psychology, Flinders University, Australia.


Positive body image is a multidimensional construct referring to love, respect, and acceptance of one's body, including aspects inconsistent with sociocultural ideals. The aim of the present study was to investigate potential pathways leading from religion and spirituality to positive body image. Participants were 345 women who completed questionnaire measures of engagement with formal religion, spirituality, gratitude, self-objectification, and positive body image. Both engagement with formal religion and spirituality were found to be positively associated with positive body image. Further, mediation analyses showed that the relationship between spirituality and positive body image was mediated by gratitude and reduced self-objectification. It was concluded that a broader spiritual consciousness may assist women to develop a loving, appreciative, and respectful relationship with their bodies. In addition, gratitude and a de-emphasis on external appearance provide useful goals and potential intervention points for promoting positive body image.


Body appreciation; Gratitude; Positive body image; Religion; Self- objectification; Spirituality

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