This study examined the associations among early family adversity (e.g., family violence, neglect), self-concept clarity (i.e., having a clear and coherent sense of one's own personal identity), thin-ideal internalization, and body dissatisfaction. Female university students in Australia (n = 323) and adult female community members in the United States (n = 371) completed self-report measures of the relevant constructs. In both samples, serial mediation analysis revealed that early family adversity was negatively associated with self-concept clarity, self-concept clarity was negatively associated with thin-ideal internalization, and thin-ideal internalization was positively associated with body dissatisfaction. These findings suggest that early adverse experiences might impair individuals’ self-concept clarity, and that low self-concept clarity might increase the risk of internalization of the thin ideal (as a means of defining the self) and consequently body dissatisfaction. These findings also suggest possible avenues for prevention and intervention efforts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology