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.


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