Conceptualizing body dissatisfaction in eating disorders within a self-discrepancy framework: a review of evidence

  • Elin L. Lantz
  • Monika E. Gaspar
  • Rebecca DiTore
  • Amani D. Piers
  • Katherine Schaumberg


Body dissatisfaction, the negative subjective evaluation of one’s body, is associated with many negative psychological and physical health consequences. One conceptualization of body dissatisfaction includes an experience of discrepancy between perceived actual and ideal body shapes. This paper reviews the literature on three facets of body dissatisfaction from the framework of self-discrepancy theory: perceptions of current weight, ideal body weight, and the relative importance of conforming to ideals. We review components of body dissatisfaction among healthy individuals and eating-disordered individuals. We also address the conceptualization’s relationship among body dissatisfaction, weight history, and dieting to expand the impact of body dissatisfaction research and to provide more information on the nature and treatment of eating disorders.


Body dissatisfaction Self-discrepancy theory Eating disorders Weight history 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elin L. Lantz
    • 1
  • Monika E. Gaspar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rebecca DiTore
    • 1
  • Amani D. Piers
    • 1
  • Katherine Schaumberg
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 10618 Neurosciences Hospital CB #7160Chapel HillUSA

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