A Correlational Study of Orthorexia and Positive Body Experiences

Author(s): Ada H Zohar, Rachel Bachner-Melman, Lilac Lev-Ari

Background: In this study we tested the hypothesis that positive body experiences would offer some protection from symptoms of orthorexia nervosa (ONs).

Methods: A community sample of 561 adult volunteers aged 19-72 was recruited via social media networks. Participants self-reported on measures of ONs [DOS], compulsive exercise [CET], positive body experiences [DKB-35] including body acceptance, body narcissism, vitality, sexual satisfaction and physical contact, and disordered eating [EDE-Q-13].

Results: 2.2% [95%CI 1.1-3.7%] of the participants scored above the clinical cut-off point for ON. All positive body experiences except physical contact were significantly and negatively correlated with all disordered eating subscales. ONs correlated negatively with body acceptance and sexual satisfaction, and compulsive exercise correlated negatively with vitality, and positively with body narcissism. Body acceptance and sexual satisfaction were lowest for the group who scored above the clinical cutoff for orthorexia nervosa. In a linear regression analysis, positive body experiences contributed 14% to the explained variance, over and beyond the negative contribution of education. Body acceptance down-moderated the association between compulsive exercise and ONs.

Conclusions: Positive body experiences, in particular body acceptance and sexual satisfaction may be protective of ONs. Further research is needed to identify factors that offer protection from ONs and can therefore be targeted in treatment and prevention programs.

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