The Impact of Gratitude on Body Image, Exercise, and Eating Behaviors
Individuals with higher body dissatisfaction have higher disordered eating, excessive exercise, mental health concerns, and lower self-esteem. Gratitude interventions have been used to decrease body shame (objectified body consciousness), body dissatisfaction and increase positive body image. Gratitude interventions have primarily focused on changing state gratitude, leading to quick short changes. Individuals with long term, trait gratitude may have lower levels of excessive exercise, disordered eating, and a more positive body image. The current research is focused on better understanding the relationship between trait gratitude, body image, excessive exercise and disordered eating. In total 268 students from a university lifelong fitness class participated in the study, with 237 completing all measures, having a 43.66% male to female ratio. Results suggest body shame moderately increases disordered eating and compulsive exercise behaviors, while gratitude minimally decreases body shame. There are likely other factors impacting who partakes in excessive exercise, disordered eating, and body shame.