The Nature of Positive Body Image: Examining Associations Between Nature Exposure, Self-Compassion, Functionality Appreciation, and Body Appreciation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEcopsychology. 2019, 11 (4), 243-253. 10.1089/eco.2019.0019
Previous studies have shown that exposure to natural environments is associated with positive body image, but mechanistic pathways are not fully understood. Here, we tested one possible pathway, namely with self-compassion as a mediator of the effects of nature exposure on positive body image. A British sample of 225 women and 229 men completed measures of positive body image (body appreciation, functionality appreciation), nature exposure, and three facets of self-compassion (Self-Kindness, Common Humanity, Mindfulness). Path analysis indicated that there were significant direct paths from nature exposure to both body appreciation and functionality appreciation, with the latter also additionally mediating the effects of nature exposure on body appreciation. In addition, two facets of self-compassion (Self-Kindness and Common Humanity, but not Mindfulness) mediated the relationships between nature exposure and body appreciation and functionality appreciation, respectively. These findings lend support to calls for everyone to have easy access to natural environments.