Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Program

Psychology

Date of Award

8-2019

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Julia Dodd

Committee Members

Stacey Williams, Meredith Ginley, Heather Dye

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors are significant public health concerns, especially among college-age women. Despite extensive research, the complex nature of disordered eating and its etiology has prevented a satisfactory predictive model from being developed and validated and has therefore hindered the development of effective prevention and intervention strategies. This study aimed to integrate four of the most common etiological theories into a model to predict disordered eating behaviors. Bivariate correlations and moderation analyses were conducted to determine the strength of relationships between variables and to determine whether a protective factor (i.e., self-compassion) moderates the effects of risk factors (i.e., media exposure, thin-ideal internalization, negative affect) on body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and bulimic behaviors. Results indicated that there were correlations between negative affect, thin-ideal internalization, and disordered eating behaviors. Contrary to hypotheses, media exposure had significant relationships with both bulimia and body dissatisfaction but was not significantly associated with thin-ideal internalization. Broadly, negative affect and thin-ideal internalization predicted disordered eating behaviors. Finally, self-compassion did not emerge as a consistent moderator of the relationship between the three risk factors and disordered eating behaviors – except with drive for thinness. Findings have potential implications for mental and physical healthcare interventions to reduce symptom experiences and increase well-being.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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