Positive embodiment for wellbeing researchers and practitioners: A narrative review of emerging constructs, measurement tools, implications, and future directions
Positive embodiment has emerged from the eating disorder field as a psychological construct describing positive experiences of inhabiting the body. As a positive construct associated with wellbeing, new theories, models, and measures may be of interest to researchers and practitioners in the field of positive psychology. No review to date has presented the literature on positive embodiment to this audience. This interdisciplinary inquiry highlights a shared interest in the promotion of wellbeing and the building of protective resources bridging positive psychology and disordered eating prevention. A systematic literature search of six databases was performed (APA PsychINFO, Science Direct, Scopus, CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, and SportDiscus) and empirical research is presented with attention paid to wellbeing concepts and opportunities for further research. This literature search located two measurement tools that operationalize positive embodiment which are explored along with their conceptual roots and underlying theories. This review incorporates quantitative and qualitative studies, and explores concepts across identified studies. Positive embodiment offers further understanding of the role of the body in wellbeing and nuance to the interconnections of concepts frequently viewed as separate, such as eating and exercise behaviour, agency and empowerment, self-concept and body image. Implications for integration in current positive psychology interventions are discussed, along with limitations of current knowledge and future research potential. As a narrative review, the subjective nature of inquiry is acknowledged and this project humbly intends to provide a landscape perspective of an emergent topic area in order to inform future research, practice, and policy possibilities. In conclusion, while research on positive embodiment is still emerging and more research is necessary to generalize, connections to wellbeing have been found, new measurement tools provide opportunities for further study, and practitioners may gain a greater appreciation for the role of the body in wellbeing.
Copyright (c) 2022 Martha Munroe
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. The license prevents others from using the work for profit without the express consent of the author(s). The license also prevents the creation of derivative works without the express consent of the author(s). Note that derivative works are very similar in nature to the original. Merely quoting (and appropriately referencing) a passage of a work is not making a derivative of it.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).