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Body Confidence Boosts Coping Abilities

Update Date: Sep 29, 2014 07:29 PM EDT

Feeling beautiful can help boost women's ability to cope with personal disappointments, according to a new study.

New research reveals that women who possess positive body images were more able to bounce back from setbacks in their everyday lives.

Researchers said the findings suggest that boosting body confidence could protect girls and young women against eating disorders and other unhealthy dieting methods.

"Women may experience a more positive body image and better eating habits if they approach disappointments and distress with kindness and the recognition that these struggles are a normal part of life," lead researcher Professor Allison Kelly of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo, said in a news release. "How we treat ourselves during difficult times that may seem unrelated to our bodies and eating seems to have a bearing on how we feel about our bodies and our relationship with food."

"Regardless of their weight, women with higher self-compassion have better body image and fewer concerns about weight, body shape or eating," added Kelly. "There is something about a high level of acceptance and understanding of oneself that helps people not necessarily view their bodies more positively, but rather acknowledge their bodies' imperfections and be okay with them."

The latest study involved data from 153 female undergraduate students who provided their body mass index measurements and answered questionnaires that measured their self-compassion, self-esteem, body image, and eating habits.

The findings are published in the September issue of the journal Body Image.

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