The effect of current and anticipated body pride and shame on dietary restraint and caloric intake
Studies have established a link between body shame and eating disorder symptoms and behaviours. However, few have differentiated current feelings of body shame from those anticipated with weight change and none has examined the effects of these on subsequent eating behaviour. In this paper, a measure of body pride and shame was developed (Study 1) for the purposes of using it in a subsequent longitudinal study (Study 2). Two hundred and forty two women were recruited from a university and the general population and participated in Study 1, completing the Body Pride and Shame (BPS) scale either online or offline, as well as a number of validating measures. In Study 2, 40 female students completed the BPS, as well as a measure of dietary restraint, and subsequently recorded their dietary intake every day for the next seven days. Study 1 identified and validated subscales of current body pride/shame as well as pride/shame that is anticipated were the individual to gain weight or lose weight. In Study 2, over and above levels of dietary restraint, current feelings of body shame predicted eating more calories over the next 7 days while the anticipation of shame with weight gain predicted eating fewer calories. Although previous research has only measured current feelings of body shame, the present study showed that anticipated shame also impacts on subsequent behaviour. Interventions that regulate anticipated as well as current emotions, and that do not merely challenge cognitions, may be important in changing eating behaviour.