Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 998–1006 | Cite as

Can Self-Reassurance Buffer against the Impact of Bullying? Effects on Body Shame and Disordered Eating in Adolescence

  • Cristiana Duarte
  • José Pinto-Gouveia
Original Paper


Bullying experiences are associated with body image and eating-related problems. Nonetheless, research on possible resilience factors is scant. The current study tested a path model examining the association between emotional memories of experiences of warmth and safeness, and self-reassuring abilities, and whether these abilities moderate the impact of bullying experiences on body image shame and eating psychopathology. We tested this model in a nonclinical sample of 609 adolescent girls aged 12–18 years. The examined model accounted for 22 % of body image shame variance and 51 % of eating psychopathology variance. Memories of warmth and safeness were significantly associated with self-reassurance, and negatively linked to body image shame and eating psychopathology. Self-reassurance significantly moderated the association between bullying experiences and both body image shame and eating psychopathology. The present findings suggest the relevance of assessing the quality of interpersonal experiences reported by adolescents and their potential association with self-reassuring abilities. Moreover, these results suggest that the ability to reassure and soothe the self may have a buffering effect against the negative impact of bullying experiences on adolescents’ body image and eating behaviors.


Warmth and safeness memories Bullying Self-reassurance Body image shame Eating psychopathology 



This research has been supported by the first author (Cristiana Duarte) Ph.D. Grant (SFRH/BD/76858/2011), sponsored by FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive and Behavioural Centre for Research and Intervention (CINEICC), Department of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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