A stronger latent-variable methodology to actual-ideal discrepancy

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We introduce a latent actual–ideal discrepancy (LAID) approach based on structural equation models (SEMs) with multiple indicators and empirically weighted variables. In Study 1, we demonstrate with simulated data, the superiority of a weighted approach to discrepancy in comparison to a classic unweighted one. In Study 2, we evaluate the effects of actual and ideal appearance on physical self-concept and self-esteem. Actual appearance contributes positively to physical self-concept and self-esteem, whereas ideal appearance contributes negatively. In support of multidimensional perspective, actual- and ideal-appearance effects on self-esteem are substantially—but not completely—mediated by physical self-concept. Whereas this pattern of results generalises across gender and age, multiple-group invariance tests show that the effect of actual appearance on physical self-concept is larger for women than for men.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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