Attachment Processes, Stress Processes, and Sociocultural Standards in the Development of Eating Disturbances in College Women

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Minimal empirical research using longitudinal data to explore integrative models of eating disorder development exists. The purpose of this study was to further explore multidimensional models incorporating parental attachment, history of stress, appraisal/coping processes, internalization of the thin-ideal, negative affect, body image, and eating disordered behavior using prospective, longitudinal data. The models were evaluated using 238 participants who completed an initial series of self-report questionnaires during their first semester in college and completed follow-up questionnaires 6 months and 18 months later. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships among the factors. Analyses confirmed that college freshman with insecure ... continued below

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Bradford, Jennifer Wolf December 2006.

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  • Bradford, Jennifer Wolf

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Description

Minimal empirical research using longitudinal data to explore integrative models of eating disorder development exists. The purpose of this study was to further explore multidimensional models incorporating parental attachment, history of stress, appraisal/coping processes, internalization of the thin-ideal, negative affect, body image, and eating disordered behavior using prospective, longitudinal data. The models were evaluated using 238 participants who completed an initial series of self-report questionnaires during their first semester in college and completed follow-up questionnaires 6 months and 18 months later. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships among the factors. Analyses confirmed that college freshman with insecure parental attachment relationships and those with a history of previous stressful experiences appraised the adjustment to college as more stressful and reported feeling less able to cope with the transition; these conditions predicted increased negative affect and increased eating disturbances. Women who reported experiencing negative affect and those that endorsed internalization of the thin-ideal also reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction; these women engaged in more disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. A second model investigating negative affect as mediating the relationship between the appraisal/coping process and eating disturbances also revealed that experiencing difficulties with the transition to college predicted later negative mood states. Further, women who reported increased negative affect also reported increased eating disturbances. Finally, cross-lagged and simultaneous effects between selected factors were evaluated. Results from these analyses are mixed, but they provide additional information about the predictive relationships among factors that play a role in the development of eating disorders. The results of this study provide valuable information about the development of eating disorders that can be used to aid prevention and treatment. Examination of these models in a large independent sample might provide confirmation of these relationships, and investigation of the models during different developmental periods might also provide important information about the development of eating disturbances and those individuals who are most at risk.

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  • December 2006

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  • May 5, 2008, 3:02 p.m.

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  • Jan. 16, 2014, 2:41 p.m.

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Bradford, Jennifer Wolf. Attachment Processes, Stress Processes, and Sociocultural Standards in the Development of Eating Disturbances in College Women, dissertation, December 2006; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5477/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .