Intolerance of Uncertainty and Body Dissatisfaction: Does Interoception Play a Role?
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Body dissatisfaction (BD) is a well-established risk factor for the development of an eating disorder. As multitudes of eating disorder diagnoses remain each year, an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of such is of utmost importance. Both interoception, as well as an intolerance of uncertainty (IU) have independently provided utility in the study of eating disorders, however little research has examined their relationships with BD. This study therefore investigated the relationship between the separate components of IU – prospective and inhibitory – on BD, and employed interoceptive awareness (IAw) as a mediating variable. 78 females aged 18 to 29 participated via completion of measures online. Results indicated that both prospective and inhibitory IU significantly predicted BD. Prospective IU yielded a significant effect on IAw, and IAw significantly mediated the prospective IU-BD relationship. Inhibitory IU however, did not significantly predict IAw, and as such, a mediating effect of IAw within the inhibitory IU-BD relationship was not present. The more specific use of inhibitory IU is therefore suggested in lieu of a combined prospective and inhibitory IU score when discussing BD and its interventions due to it’s independently significant effects on BD. Importantly, as IAw emerged as a significant predictor within both models, it may be recommended that BD intervention be assisted via targetting interoception. While these results are based off BD data, they therefore also bear relevance to eating disorder science, and future research may benefit from examining the utility of inhibitory IU and IAw in eating disorder intervention.