The frequency, type and impact of appearance comparisons on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviours in women's daily lives

Katherine Drutschinin, Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Tara De Paoli, Vivienne Lewis, Isabel Krug

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstractpeer-review


To examine the impact of appearance comparison behaviours, trait body dissatisfaction and eating pathology on women's state body dissatisfaction and engagement in disordered eating behaviours in daily life.

Using ecological sampling method (ESM), 116 women residing in Australia, completed a baseline questionnaire containing the trait-based measures, before being signalled by an iPhone app six times daily, for seven days, to self-report on their recent appearance comparison behaviours, current state body dissatisfaction and recent disordered eating behaviours.

Multi-level modelling revealed that upward comparisons (comparisons against more attractive individuals) elicited increases in state body dissatisfaction (β = 0.89, P < .001) and disordered eating behaviours (β = 0.29, P = .002). Contrastingly, downward comparisons (comparisons against less attractive individuals) elicited decreases in state body dissatisfaction (β = –0.31, P = .048) and, unexpectedly, increases in disordered eating behaviours (β = 0.46, P < .01). The frequency of appearance comparison engagement, regardless of whether it was upward or downward comparisons, was also predictive of increased disordered eating behaviours (β = 0.12, P < .001). In addition, eating pathology and trait body dissatisfaction were directly associated with higher state body dissatisfaction, and increased in disordered eating behaviours (all P < .001).

These findings highlight the general negative impact that appearance comparisons have on fluctuating states of body dissatisfaction and eating pathology, as well as illustrating how trait characteristics partially account for this volatility. These findings provide further information that may be used to inform eating disorder prevention and intervention efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Event24th European Congress of Psychiatry - Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 12 Mar 201615 Mar 2016


Conference24th European Congress of Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'The frequency, type and impact of appearance comparisons on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviours in women's daily lives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this