Correlates and Predictors of Dysfunctional Eating Attitudes and Behaviours in a Non-clinical New Zealand Female Sample.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts (Hons)
Eating disorders are among the most common psychological problems faced by women. Perfectionism, impulsivity and poor self-esteem have been identified as significant risk factors for the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Further, elevated body mass has been found to amplify the effect of these risk factors on the development of eating pathology. However, although the symptoms associated with eating disorders have been theorised to lie on a continuum with frank eating disorders at one end and normative eating concerns at the other, there is limited research and findings are mixed about the correlates and predictors of dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours in non-clinical populations. The present research contributes to a clearer understanding of risk factors associated with dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours in non-clinical populations. Correlational analyses in the present study indicated that dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours are associated with increased perfectionism, lowered self-esteem and elevated body mass. Regression analyses identified body dissatisfaction as a significant predictor of bulimic symptomatology. Further research is needed to extend these results. The current study found that dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours occur in non-clinical populations and are associated with similar risk factors to those associated with eating pathology in clinical populations. Further, it advocates the need for early detection and intervention of eating disturbances in at risk non-clinical samples, particularly in relation to body image dissatisfaction. Finally, it highlights the need for further research focussing on non-clinical samples in order to more clearly understand the correlates and predictors of dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviours in these populations.