Submitter and Co-author information

Tanja Samardzic, University of WindsorFollow

Type of Proposal

Oral presentation

Streaming Media


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Josee L. Jarry

Start Date

24-3-2015 11:00 AM

End Date

24-3-2015 11:50 AM

Importance of the Project

The most important contribution of this research to the study of body image and eating disorders will be a deeper understanding of the link between women’s experiences in their romantic relationships on one hand and body dissatisfaction and disordered eating on the other hand. Specifically, this research will focus on the connection between self-silencing, whereby women suppress their self-expression when involved in romantic relationships. A fair amount of research has been conducted on the association between self-silencing and eating disturbances (Lacour, 1998; Frank & Thomas, 2003; Wechsler, Riggs, Stabb, & Marshall, 2006; Cawood, 1998). However, few studies have focused specifically on self-silencing and body dissatisfaction.

Existing State of Knowledge

Self-silencing, which is an important concept to this study, was developed by Dana Crowley Jack. The notion of self-silencing came from studying depressed women; Jack (2011) wanted to know why women were twice as depressed as men. She soon realized that depressed women create schemata based on attachment, patterns issued from past relationships due to the subordinate role women played (Jack, 2011, p. 524). These women put their partners first, silencing themselves in the process which results in an experience that Jack (2011) describes as “the divided self” (p. 525). A great deal of research has demonstrated a link between self-silencing in relationships and eating pathology and body dissatisfaction (Schembri & Evans, 2008; Fleury, 2004; Frank & Thomas, 2003; Lippert, 1999).

Research Question

Is the relation between self-silencing and body dissatisfaction mediated by appearance investment?


For this study, a mediation model will be used. A mediation model assumes that the relation between the independent variable “x” (self-silencing) and the dependent variable “y” (body dissatisfaction) is an indirect one, and that the relation between “x” and “y” occurs through the mediator (body image investment). In this case it is proposed that the association between self-silencing and body dissatisfaction would be explained by body image investment. Specifically, self-silencing would lead to higher focus on the body as one avenue of self-expression and control. This higher investment then would lead to higher dissatisfaction by virtue of the closer scrutiny of the now self-important domain of appearance. Closer scrutiny threatens satisfaction by way of women never being truly satisfied with what they see. Constant scrutiny instills a pressure to change what they seem to be wrong with their bodies, which results in further dissatisfaction, because it is very difficult to not find anything when scrutinizing oneself.

Your Findings

Although this study has not been conducted yet, this is what I predict I will find: Participants who self-silence more in their romantic relationships will be more invested in their body image. In turn, these participants will show higher body dissatisfaction. The next step of this programme of research is to examine whether this relationship is more pronounced in women with higher thin-ideal internalizations. I plan to examine this correlation in the second part of my thesis; I will replicate this study, while adding thin-ideal internalization as a moderator. This will become a moderated mediation model. I will examine whether more self-silencing in relationships results in more body image investment and therefore, more body dissatisfaction, in women with higher thin-ideal internalization. The measure of the moderator will be the Sociocultural Attitudes toward Appearance-3 (SATAQ-3), developed by Thompson, Van den Berg, Roehrig, Guarda, and Heinberg (2004). This measure examines thin-ideal internalization, and has sound psychometric properties.


Mar 24th, 11:00 AM Mar 24th, 11:50 AM

Is the relation between self-silencing and body dissatisfaction mediated by appearance investment?