Multivariate analyses were used to compare key eating behavior, cognitive, affective, and body variables to determine the similarities and differences between eating-disordered, symptomatic, and asymptomatic female undergraduates. On the eating behavior (i.e., bulimic symptoms, concern for dieting, weight fluctuation), and some of the cognitive (i.e., impression management, approval by others, dichotomous thinking, self-control, rigid weight regulation, weight and approval) and body (i.e., concern with body shape, satisfaction with face) variables, the eating-disorder group reported the most severe symptoms, followed linearly by the symptomatic and asymptomatic groups. On the affective (i.e., sad, anxious, guilty, shameful, stressed, happy, confident, overall self-esteem) and the remaining cognitive (i.e., vulnerability, catastrophizing) and body (i.e., importance of being physically fit and being attractive, satisfaction with body) variables, the symptomatic and eating-disorder groups did not differ from one another but had higher levels of distress than did the asymptomatic women. These findings suggest that (1) counselors need to be aware that a large percentage of female undergraduates are nondiagnosable yet experience eating-disorder symptoms, and (2) these symptomatic women are experiencing high levels of distress, particularly in the areas of affect and body image.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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