Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Stacey Cahn, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Petra Kottsieper, PhD

Third Advisor

Christopher S Adams, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Jane Dumsha, PhD


Objective: Body dissatisfaction has been identified as a risk factor for depression and eating pathology, whereas, self-compassion has been associated with higher quality of life. This study sought to examine the relationship between negative body image and self-compassion as risk or protective factors for weight and body composition related feedback mood changes.

Method: This deception study used a true-experimental, pre- and post-test design in a sample of 117 female graduate and medical students and college staff, aged 18 to 45 years; women diagnosed with eating disorders were excluded. After completing baseline questionnaires (including mood, body image, and self-compassion), patiicipants had their weight and body fat percentage measured. Changes in self-repmied mood were examined after patiicipants were given weight and body fat readings, respectively, that were either: (a) accurate; (A) (b) false higher (FH) by 5 pounds and 4 body fat percentage points; or (c) false lower (FL) by 5 pounds and 4 body fat percentage points.

Results: The FH group repmied an average 14.6% mood reduction, whereas the FL and A feedback groups showed very little change in mood. In addition, self-compassion and body image served both as protective and as risk factors in the FH condition.

Discussion: Findings suggest self-compassion and body image as impmiant targets of intervention for the prevention of depression and eating disorders because they may play an important role in how women subjectively experience weight and body fat related feedback.