Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The college years are a time of increased risk for body image concerns and disordered eating in both men and women. Studies have shown that body image concerns may emerge in childhood, increase throughout adolescence, and become more stable in middle adulthood, but less is known about the changes that happen during the college years that may cause these concerns to level off. One of the most common ways of assessing body image is by measuring appearance evaluation, or global satisfaction with appearance. While problematic appearance evaluation and disordered eating attitudes are often associated with one another, all individuals who are dissatisfied with their appearance do not go on to develop an eating disorder. This may be due to moderating factors such as mindfulness and expressive suppression. The current study draws on a longitudinal sample of college students assessed on measures of psychosocial functioning, including appearance evaluation, disordered eating attitudes, mindfulness, and expressive suppression. This study found that while appearance evaluation was stable across the college years, disordered eating attitudes increased during that time period. Over the course of college, appearance evaluation significantly predicted disordered eating attitudes. However, mindfulness and expressive suppression were not predictive of disordered eating attitudes, and did not impact the relation between appearance evaluation and disordered eating attitudes. These results demonstrate the importance of designing disordered eating interventions that span the entire course of college and have implications for the current literature on the link between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and disordered eating attitudes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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