Harmony Or Discord: Disordered Eating and Personality Traits of College Music Majors

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Personality traits, such as neuroticism, perfectionism, and a narrow self-concept have been identified as risk factors for eating disorders or have been found at higher rates in those with eating disorders (e.g., Brannan & Petrie, 2008; Cash & Deagle, 1997; Cervera et al., 2003). Musicians exhibit many of these personality traits associated with eating disorders (e.g., Kemp, 1981), however eating disorder prevalence has not been studied in musicians. The present study examined the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among college music majors. This study also compared personality traits (i.e., neuroticism, perfectionism, musician identity) between music majors ... continued below

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DiPasquale, Laura D. August 2012.

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  • DiPasquale, Laura D.

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Personality traits, such as neuroticism, perfectionism, and a narrow self-concept have been identified as risk factors for eating disorders or have been found at higher rates in those with eating disorders (e.g., Brannan & Petrie, 2008; Cash & Deagle, 1997; Cervera et al., 2003). Musicians exhibit many of these personality traits associated with eating disorders (e.g., Kemp, 1981), however eating disorder prevalence has not been studied in musicians. The present study examined the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among college music majors. This study also compared personality traits (i.e., neuroticism, perfectionism, musician identity) between music majors and nonmajors and examined which personality traits best predicted bulimic symptomatology. Participants were 93 female and 126 male undergraduate students majoring in music and a nonmusician comparison group of 310 women 140 men from the same university. Music majors and nonmajors did not differ from each other with regards to eating disorder prevalence rates. Exercising and fasting/strict dieting were the primary means of weight control amongst all participants. With regards to personality traits, female and male music majors reported higher levels of perfectionism than their nonmajor counterparts and male music majors reported higher levels of neuroticism than male nonmajors. After controlling for BMI, neuroticism and doubts about actions predicted bulimic symptoms in female music majors, whereas concern over mistakes predicted bulimic symptomatology among men majoring in music. Findings suggest that any additional appearance-based pressures from the music environment do not translate into increased levels of eating pathology. Music majors higher levels of perfectionism and neuroticism may help them to succeed within the music and perform at a high level. Lastly, personality dimensions of neuroticism and concern over making mistakes predict disordered eating in all students.

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  • August 2012

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  • March 4, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 12:06 p.m.

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DiPasquale, Laura D. Harmony Or Discord: Disordered Eating and Personality Traits of College Music Majors, dissertation, August 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149584/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .