Body Dissatisfaction in Adolescents with Eating Disorders: Associations with Maladaptive Perfectionism and Anxiety
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Eating disorders are chronic, disabling illnesses associated with significant mortality rates (Crow et al., 2009). Body dissatisfaction has been demonstrated as a prominent risk factor for adolescent eating disorders. However few studies have examined psychological factors that predict body dissatisfaction. The present study examined maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety as possible risk factors for body dissatisfaction in adolescents with eating disorders and controls. Participants completed measures of body dissatisfaction, maladaptive perfectionism, and anxiety. Results demonstrated that maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety were significantly and positively associated with body dissatisfaction. However, these factors did not interact to predict elevated body dissatisfaction in eating disordered adolescents. These findings suggest that current body image treatments for adolescents with eating disorders and from nonclinical populations may be improved by including a focus on maladaptive perfectionism or anxiety. Future research should endeavour to conduct prospective, longitudinal studies that assess whether risk factors for body dissatisfaction are also causal factors. Finally, it is also important that researchers investigate whether body image treatments that target maladaptive perfectionism or anxiety effectively reduce body dissatisfaction in adolescents with and without eating disorders.