posted on 2023-08-30, 20:33authored byPhaedra Longhurst, Viren Swami
Background: Research has increasingly examined the ways in which internal bodily experiences influence body image, including the relationship between alexithymia – the reduced ability to identify and describe one’s own emotional feelings and bodily sensations – and negative body image. However, relationships between facets of alexithymia and positive body image remain unexplored.
Methods: To bridge this gap in the literature, we assessed relationships between facets of alexithymia and multiple, core indices of positive body image in an online sample of adults from the United Kingdom. A total of 395 participants (226 women, 169 men) aged 18 to 84 years completed measures of alexithymia, body appreciation, functionality appreciation, body image flexibility, body acceptance by others, and positive rational acceptance.
Results: Once the effects of age had been accounted for, alexithymia was significantly and negatively associated with all five body image constructs in hierarchical multiple regressions. In the final models, the alexithymia facet of Difficulties Identifying Feeling emerged as a significant and negative predictor of all indices of positive body image.
Limitations: The use of cross-sectional data limits the causal conclusions that can be drawn.
Conclusions: These findings extend previous work by demonstrating the unique relationship between alexithymia and positive body image, providing important implications for body image research and practice.