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Article first published online: 4 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12089


Western pressures for thinness tell women that having a thin body makes a person worthy. Two factors that may provide alternative means of self-worth are religion and general commitment to a meaningful goal. This study experimentally tested whether religious-affirming statements buffered against exposure to thin models for everyone, or only for women with strong religious commitment. It also examined the relationships among religious commitment, general commitment, and body satisfaction. One hundred eleven women at a religious-affiliated college completed the commitment scales and baseline body measures. They were later randomly assigned to read one set of affirming statements, after which they then completed body measures again. Results showed that religious commitment buffered against exposure to ultrathin models. Women who were strongly religiously committed and who read religious statements that affirmed the body showed higher body esteem. Correlation results showed that general commitment was positively related to body esteem, body satisfaction, and healthy dieting. Religious commitment was positively related to body esteem and body satisfaction. Results are discussed in relation to schemas and depth of processing. Practical implications are discussed.

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