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Title:Family and Individual Variables Associated With Disordered Eating
Author(s):Meno, Chris Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hannum, James W.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:Disordered eating is common among college women. Research often investigates the correlates of disordered eating, but only in the last decade has it begun to examine the interplay of these factors. In this study, structural equation modeling was used to examine the hypothesis that family variables are internalized by a woman, which in turn predict anorexic, bulimic, and binge eating symptoms among college women. The model tested in this research hypothesized that perceived family control toward eating and weight, family preoccupation toward eating and weight, and family criticism are internalized by a woman, which influences her body self-esteem, global self-esteem, eating and weight attributions of internal/external control, and global attributions of control, which then predict disordered eating. Competing theoretical models tested if the internalization hypothesis provided a better fit to the data compared to a second, direct effects model. The internalization model was also compared to a third, identical model predicting depression symptoms to test the specificity of these variables in predicting disordered eating. Results from a sample of 581 college females indicated that the hypothesized internalization model was an adequate fit to the sample data, and an equally good fit compared to the direct effects model. Negative body self-esteem, global attributions of control, perceived family criticism, family preoccupation toward eating and weight, and family control toward eating and weight were significant predictors of both binge eating and anorexic symptoms. In general, individual variables were stronger predictors in the internalization model, suggesting that the family environment affects disordered eating through shaping a woman's view of herself. The internalization model for disordered eating was also a better fit compared to the depression model, with attributions of control and negative body self-esteem important predictors in the eating disorder models but not in the depression model. The results of this study suggest that family variables are not specific predictors of disordered eating, but instead general risk factors for mental health problems. Family variables do, however, have unique effects on those individuals with eating disorder symptoms compared to those with depressive symptoms. Attributions of control and negative body self-esteem are promising variables on which interventions and treatment should focus.
Issue Date:2004
Description:111 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3153382
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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