Date of Award

6-12-2006

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa Lilenfeld, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Chris Henrich, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lawrence Riso, Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study sought to prospectively explore the potential main effects and interactive relations among drive for thinness, life event stress, and harm avoidance in the prediction of disordered eating in an ethnically diverse sample of women (N = 58). During the initial and follow-up assessments, standardized questionnaires were utilized to assess drive for thinness, life event stress, and a harm avoidant temperament. Additionally, semi-structured diagnostic interviews were administered to assess disordered eating. Results revealed a significant interaction between drive for thinness and life event stress in the prediction of eating pathology. Neither the two-way life event stress x harm avoidance interaction nor the three-way drive for thinness x life event stress x harm avoidance interaction were significant predictors of eating pathology. These findings suggest that the previously suggested relation between drive for thinness and pathological eating is dependent upon the degree of life event stress experienced.

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