Interoceptive Awareness as a Mediator in the Relationship between Gender Congruence and Body Image: A Moderated Mediation Model
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The present study investigated gender congruence as a predictor of negative body image through interoceptive awareness in a sample of TGNC and cisgender participants. Gender identity (TGNC or cisgender) was included as a potential moderator of these relationships. In a cross-sectional study, 103 TGNC and 94 cisgender adults completed an online survey measuring gender congruence, interoceptive awareness, and negative body image. Data were analysed using a moderated mediation analysis with gender congruence as the predictor, interoceptive awareness as the mediator, and negative body image as the outcome variable, whereby gender identity could moderate each of the relationships between variables. Results revealed that interoceptive awareness partially mediated the relationship between gender congruence and negative body image regardless of gender identity. These results suggest that gender congruence may influence interoceptive awareness which in turn may influence body image, and that these are factors which can be addressed in clinical settings to reduce gender and body-related distress in TGNC populations, thus improving overall mental health.