The relationship between eating attitudes, social anxiety, body-satisfaction and self-esteem in young women with and without disordered eating attitudes
Type of content
In a study investigating the relationship of self-evaluations to the co-occurrence of disordered eating and social anxiety, eating attitudes, social anxiety, body-satisfaction and self-esteem were examined in a non-clinical population composed of 224 young women. Survey results revealed high levels of social anxiety and disordered eating, and positive correlations between all variables for all subjects. Division of subjects into disordered eaters and normal eaters showed that body-satisfaction and self esteem were predictive of social anxiety for each group, but that eating attitudes and social anxiety were unrelated when these two variables were partialled out. Socially anxious disordered eaters had significantly lower self-esteem than those who were not socially anxious, supporting our prediction that comorbidity is more likely to arise when both body-satisfaction and self-esteem are low. Results were interpreted within the context of a model integrating both the self-presentational and evolutionary approaches to social anxiety with an 'escape' perspective on psychopathology. The study suggests that poor self-evaluations contribute to the adolescent's inability to cope with societal demands, highlighting the need for development of internal sources of self-esteem among young women.