Associations between body image, social physique anxiety, and dating anxiety in heterosexual emerging adults
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBody image. 2021, 39 305-312. 10.1016/j.bodyim.2021.10.004
Studies have suggested that body image is associated with dating anxiety, but are limited by small sample sizes, singular operationalisations of body image, and a lack of consideration of the concurrent effects of social physique anxiety. To overcome these gaps in the literature, we asked an online sample of 501 heterosexual emerging adults from the United Kingdom (age M = 21.16, 50.3% women) to complete measures of multidimensional body image, social physique anxiety, and dating anxiety. Correlational analyses indicated that more negative body image and social physique anxiety were both significantly associated with greater dating anxiety. However, in hierarchical regressions, the variance accounted for by body image variables was largely non-significant and weak after accounting for the effects of social physique anxiety. In exploratory analyses, we found that social physique anxiety mediated the relationship between the body image facet of appearance orientation and dating anxiety. These results highlight the importance of developing targeted interventions to reduce social physique anxiety and unhealthy appearance orientation in heterosocial dating contexts.