Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017


Basing self-worth on appearance is inversely related to women’s body esteem, but studies have not examined whether religious factors moderate this relationship in women or men—controlling for positive and negative affect. We tested two possible moderators: basing self-worth on when one has God’s (conditional) love or having positive attitudes toward God (trusting and feeling loved and supported by an all-knowing and all-powerful God). In women (N=287) and men (N=124), correlations showed that basing self-worth on appearance was negatively related to body esteem, whereas positive attitudes toward God were positively related to body esteem. In women, basing self-worth on perceptions of having God’s love was positively related to body esteem. Moderator analyses showed that in men only, positive attitudes toward God moderated (weakened) the inverse relationship between basing self-worth on appearance and body esteem. Basing self-worth on when one has God’s love did not attenuate the relationship in women or men.

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