Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 2009

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Carrie Nassif

Abstract

Past research has examined the potential factors in the development of body dissatisfaction such as gender influences, the media, peer influences, and familial influences. Body dissatisfaction has also been found to be a strong predictor of eating disordered behavior. However, less research has examined what specific aspects of eating disorders are strongly predicted from body dissatisfaction. The purpose of this study is to examine which aspects of various eating disordered behaviors can be predicted from body dissatisfaction. The Amy Survey contained four Symptom Scales (Anorexia Nervosa, Benge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, and Dieting) and four Behavioral Scales (Doing/Feeling, Similar Situation, Distress, and Easy to Treat) which were composed of 160 items total. Overall the Amy Survey, which was designed by the author and consists of scenarios describing individuals with symptoms reflective of different eating disorder symptoms, was found to be both a reliable and valid measurement as was expected. In terms of validity, there were four factors within the Behavioral Scales and five factors within the Symptom Scales. Factor 1 (Doing/Felling; Similar Situation) and Factor 4 (Severe Situation; Doing/Feeling) within the Behavioral Scales were quite similar due to their conceptual overlap while Factor 2 (Easy to Treat) and Factor 3 (Distress) evenly represented eating disordered behavior. Similarly in regards to the five factors found within the Symptom Scales, Factor 1 (Binge/Purge Cycle Symptoms), Factor 2 (Eating preoccupation Symptoms), Factor 3 (Negative Self Evaluation Symptoms), and Factor 4 (Rigid Eating Standards) within the Symptom Scales indicated much conceptual overlap while Factor 5 (Binge Eating Symptoms) thoroughly represented characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder. In addition, women were found to have significantly higher body dissatisfaction discrepancy scores than men, and women also have a significantly higher frequency of negative body dissatisfaction scores than men. There were also significant gender differences among the Doing/Feeling and the Similar Situation Behavioral scales as well as among the Binge Eating Disorder and the Dieting Symptom scales. Additionally, increases in body dissatisfaction discrepancies were found to significantly predict increases in the Doing/Feeling Behavioral scale as well as in the Similar Situation Behavioral scale within the Amy Survey; they were not found to be significantly related to the Distress Behavioral Scale. Increases in body dissatisfaction discrepancies were found to significantly decrease the Easy to Treat Behavioral Scale. Lastly, increases in body dissatisfaction discrepancies were found to significantly predict an increase in all four eating disordered Symptom scales within the Amy Survey.

Rights

Copyright 2009 Amy Lauterbach

Comments

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