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Identifying young girls at risk for eating disorders : a multi-faceted self-inadequacy risk model


Identifying young girls at risk for eating disorders : a multi-faceted self-inadequacy risk model

Leung, Freedom (1993) Identifying young girls at risk for eating disorders : a multi-faceted self-inadequacy risk model. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Low self-esteem, fear of negative evaluation, and body dissatisfaction have long been implicated in the development of eating disorders. The present study examined these attributes of the self as a multi-faceted self-inadequacy risk model for eating disorders. It was hypothesized that girls who display a self-profile characterized by extremely low self-esteem, high fear of negative evaluation and body dissatisfaction will report more of the eating, psychiatric and family problems found in eating disordered patients than girls who do not. To assess the validity and utility of this risk model, 918 adolescent girls and 74 eating-disordered female patients completed measures of family characteristics, attributes of the self, and eating and other psychiatric symptomatology. Results provided empirical support for the construct validity of the self-inadequacy risk model. The findings derived from two separate modes of risk group classification converged to indicate that the constellation of attributes of self-inadequacy used in the study defines a distinct vulnerable self-profile, which in its extreme form, predisposes young girls to eating pathology. The results also revealed that the self-inadequacy construct consists of two interrelated components: a body-image deficit and a general self-image deficit. Different combinations of the two components of self-inadequacy were associated with particular family and symptom profiles. Structural equation analyses illustrated how two sources of family influence contribute to the development of serious eating pathology. The first source was family preoccupation with weight leading to body dissatisfaction; the second source was general family dysfunction leading to self-esteem problems. The findings indicate that the interaction of the two sources of family influence leads to a pervasive sense of self-inadequacy, and a symptom profile characterized by both serious eating disturbances and other psychiatric symptoms. Results are discussed in terms of the potential usefulness of the identified construct for assessing risk for eating disorders among young girls, and the possible mechanisms by which the two sources of family influence and the two components of self-inadequacy lead to clinical eating pathology. Future research directions in this area are considered.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Leung, Freedom
Pagination:x, 184 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Dept. of Psychology
Thesis Supervisor(s):Schwartzman, Alex E
ID Code:52
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 17:09
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:12
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