Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Akihiko Masuda

Abstract

Problematic levels of eating disorder (ED) spectrum problems are becoming increasingly pervasive on college campuses, especially among female college students. Research suggests that ED cognitions and a lack of body image acceptance are linked to diminished psychological flexibility (PF), which is linked to ED and other negative health symptoms. Two hundred thirty-six undergraduates completed an online survey, and mediation analyses were conducted. PF fully mediated the relation between ED cognitions and non-specific psychiatric symptoms and partially mediated the link between ED cognitions and ED symptoms. PF also partially mediated the link between body image acceptance and non-specific psychiatric symptoms, but not the relation between body image acceptance and ED symptoms. Findings suggest that clinical symptoms and one’s coping style are both important factors to take into consideration in case conceptualization and treatment, and suggest that therapies such as ACT that target PF may be beneficial in treating ED spectrum problems.

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