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Self-affirming trait kindness regulates disgust towards one’s physical appearance

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Body Image
Volume12
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)98-107
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In two studies, self-affirming the behavioral trait of kindness was examined as a method of regulating state disgust toward one's physical appearance. In Study 1, 56 participants (37 women, 19 men, Mage = 33.16 years) completed either a questionnaire designed to self-affirm kindness or a control equivalent and rated their disgust, anger, sadness, and happiness toward their appearance and behavior. In Study 2, 116 individuals (83 women, 33 men, Mage = 24.90 years) participated in the same experiment over the internet in an ecologically valid context. When controlling for trait self-disgust, the self-affirmed in Study 1 reported significantly less disgust toward their appearance (ηp2 = .12, p = .011). This effect was replicated in Study 2, but driven by lower state disgust levels in those higher in trait self-disgust (f2 = .10, p = .001). Affirming valued traits, like kindness, may be a useful tool for regulating disgust toward body image.