Exercise Status moderates the relationship between mindfulness/self-compassion and Body Mass Index


  • M. Mantzios
  • H. Egan


Previous research described different relationships between mindfulness, self-compassion and Body Mass Index (BMI). While some research shows that mindfulness relates negatively to BMI, other research shows no association, and in some cases positive relationships; such literature resembles the findings around self-compassion and BMI. In an attempt to identify individual differences that may explain these inconsistencies in findings, we explored current physical exercise as a potential moderator with a sample of healthy non-smoking undergraduate students (n= 340, males=17; Mage=21.1, SD=5.8; MBMI=21.1, SD=5.8). Preliminary correlational analyses indicated that self-compassion and mindfulness did not relate to BMI, while the latter showed no difference between current exercisers and non-exercisers. Using the PROCESS macro and bootstrapping procedure (n=5000, Model 1; see Hayes, 2013) indicated that there was a significant interaction effect of mindfulness and exercise status, as well as self-compassion and exercise status on BMI. Exercise status, when fluctuating from current non-exercisers to exercisers, shifted the non-significant effect of mindfulness and self-compassion on BMI to significant negative relationships. Results suggest that individual differences may strengthen non-existing or mixed results when exploring the effect of mindfulness and self-compassion on BMI, and advocate the need for further research of mindfulness and self-compassion in relation to eating and weight regulation.





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