Sociocultural appearance pressures (i.e. family, peers, media) are linked to thin ideal internalization and body dissatisfaction, key risk factors for eating disorders in young adult women (Rodgers, McLean, & Paxton, 2015). However, positive body image, specifically body appreciation, has not been explored in the relationship between sociocultural appearance pressures, thin ideal internalization, and eating pathology. The aims of the present study were to examine the structural relations among sociocultural appearance pressures (family, peer, media), thin ideal internalization, body appreciation, and eating pathology, as well as to examine the mediating role of body appreciation in the relationship between thin ideal internalization and eating pathology in a diverse sample of college-aged women. Participants were 272 ethnically diverse women, with ages ranging from 18 to 25 (M = 19.92, SD = 1.82); 39% Hispanic/Latina). Consistent with hypotheses, results indicated that greater appearance pressures directly predicted greater thin ideal internalization and greater eating pathology, with varying relative influence of family, peer, and media appearance pressures on study variables. Additionally, greater body appreciation directly predicted lower eating pathology. Lastly, it was found that greater thin ideal internalization directly and indirectly predicted greater eating pathology. Specifically, body appreciation mediated the relationship between thin ideal internalization and eating pathology. Due to ethnic group mean differences in sociocultural appearance pressures, a model for Latina participants only was tested. Only appearance pressures from family and media predicted study variables. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the role of body appreciation in this context. Study findings highlight the importance of considering positive body image when exploring the mechanisms by which sociocultural appearance pressures influence thin ideal internalization and eating pathology in diverse populations and Latinas, specifically.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Patricia M. Flynn

Second Advisor

Hector M. Betancourt

Third Advisor

Sylvia M. Herbozo

Fifth Advisor

Holly E. R. Morrell

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Young Adult; Female; Body Dissatisfaction; Body Image; Ethnicity; Feeding and Eating Disorders; Hispanic or Latino



Page Count

xi; 60 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives