Examining the relationship between coping strategies and positive body image among older women
This exploratory study examined the relationships among coping strategies (appearance-fixing, avoidance, and positive rational acceptance), perceived sociocultural pressures, and positive body image in a sample of women aged 50 and older (N=164). The role of coping strategies as a moderator in the relationship between perceived sociocultural pressures and positive body image was also examined. Correlation analysis revealed that avoidance (r = -.746) appearance-fixing coping (r = -.238) were significantly and negatively correlated to positive body image, and positive rational acceptance ( r = .491) was significantly and positively correlated with positive body image. Correlation analysis also revealed that perceived sociocultural pressures (pressures mean r = -.44) were significantly and negatively correlated with positive body image. In addition, as a first step in determining moderation, multiple linear regression indicated that the three coping strategies significantly predicted positive body image; however, perceived sociocultural pressures were not significant predictors of positive body image. Furthermore, moderation with interaction was tested with coping strategies (appearance-fixing, avoidance, positive rational acceptance) and avoidance coping was the only coping style with a significant interaction. Thereby, indicating that avoidance coping moderated the relationship between perceived sociocultural pressures and positive body image, i.e., the negative effect of perceived sociocultural pressures on positive body image depended on the level of avoidance coping. For instance, high levels of avoidance coping lowers positive body image and this effect on body image remained stable regardless of perceived pressures; whereas, when avoidance coping was low and sociocultural pressures were also low, positive body image was still relatively high. However, small increases in sociocultural pressures strengthened the negative effect on positive body image. Results provide preliminary support for addressing positive rational acceptance coping and avoidance coping in health education/promotion interventions designed to enhance positive body image among older women.