EVANS, ELIZABETH,HELEN (2012) Biopsychosocial factors in body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes amongst preadolescent girls: cross-sectional and longitudinal perspectives. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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Research into the antecedents of disordered eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction in preadolescent girls is lacking, despite the physical and psychological developmental risks these phenomena pose. In response, two separate studies of school-based samples of young girls were undertaken, investigating a range of biopsychosocial risk factors using longitudinal and cross-sectional methodologies.
Study 1 examined prospective predictors of disordered eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction. 138 girls completed measures of adiposity, perfectionism, anxiety, body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes at 7 to 9 years old and two years later at 9 to 11 years old. Across-time predictors of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes, adjusted for other across- and within-time relationships, were assessed using regression analyses. Initial adiposity predicted subsequent body dissatisfaction with only borderline significance when adjusted for subsequent adiposity. Initial disordered eating attitudes and perfectionism predicted subsequent disordered eating attitudes. These data suggest novel prospective factors in the pathogenesis of disordered eating and body image for young girls.
Study 2 cross-sectionally examined the utility of an adult sociocultural model of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes in young girls for the first time. According to the model, internalising an unrealistically thin ideal body increases the risk of disordered eating via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and depression. 127 girls aged 7-11 years old completed measures of adiposity, thin-ideal internalisation, body dissatisfaction, dieting, depression, and disordered eating attitudes. Thin-ideal internalisation predicted disordered eating attitudes indirectly via body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and depression; it also predicted disordered eating attitudes directly (a novel parameter). Exploratory path analyses showed that this revised sociocultural model fit well with the data. These data indicate a sociocultural framework of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction in adults is useful, with minor modifications, in understanding related attitudes in young girls.
Together, these studies provide a detailed picture of factors involved in the development and maintenance of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes during middle childhood. They suggest the importance of early, targeted interventions for this age group as a means to reduce girls’ current and subsequent concerns about eating, shape and weight.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Disordered eating attitudes; perfectinism; anxiety; depression; thin-ideal internalisation; thin-ideal awareness; body dissatisfaction; body mass index; development; longitudinal; sociocultural|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||05 Dec 2012 12:01|