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Developmental Stressors and Associated Coping Skills in the Development of Disordered Eating in College Females

Description: There is a lack of clarity in the current literature in how potential etiological factors interact and result in disordered eating. The purpose of this study was to examine an expanded model of Personality, Social Support, Appraisal/Coping Processes, Abuse History, Internalization of Sociocultural Standards, Psychological Disturbances, and Body Disparagement in the development of disordered eating. The current model was evaluated using 276 women in their transition to college, a time period highly associated with symptoms believed to increase a woman's risk for the development of disordered eating including perceived difficulty coping, weight gain, and negative affect. Structural equation modeling was used to allow simultaneous examination of the causal relationships between the factors. Structural analyses confirmed that college women with previous stressful experiences appraised the adjustment to college as more stressful and reported feeling less able to cope with the transition. Those women who identified the transition as overwhelming were also aware of increased negative mood and psychological states since beginning the school semester. Further, women with previous traumatic sexual experiences appeared to be at additional risk for increased negative affective symptoms. The resulting model confirmed that those women who experience negative mood states and those that endorse strong internalization of cultural values regarding attractiveness encountered increased dissatisfaction and disapproval of their bodies. Finally, women with higher levels of body concern engaged in more eating behaviors associated with disordered eating. The roles of personality functioning and perceived social support could not be identified in the developmental model. The predictive links between constructs in the resulting model provide meaningful information regarding the transition to college and associated risks for development of disordered eating. Validation of the model in an independent sample would provide confirmation of these relationships and longitudinal research examining females' attitudes across crucial developmental periods might provide important information regarding ...
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Date: August 2002
Creator: Tripp, Margaret Murphy

Sexual orientation self-label, behavior, and preference: College students in Taiwan and the USA

Description: The relationships among self-labeled sexual orientation, sexual preferences, and sexual behaviors were examined in samples from Taiwan and the USA. Subsamples matched on gender, age, and marital status were created to reduce sexual orientation cell size discrepancies and demographic differences. Sexual orientation self-label, the Kinsey Scale of Sexual Orientation, and a modified version for preference were used to assess participants' sexual orientation, behavior, and preference, respectively. Additional measures included an adaptation of the Early Sexual Experiences Checklist, and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist for psychological distress. For both Taiwan and USA subsamples, heterosexual participants reported significantly greater congruence between sexual orientation identity and preference than did nonheterosexual participants. A high proportion of the Taiwan sample were celibate, precluding analyses of congruence between sexual orientation identity and sexual behavior. Congruence between sexual behavior and preference in the USA sample was negatively correlated with psychological distress. In a cross-cultural comparison between the Taiwan and USA women (n = 176), the two samples reported similar congruence between sexual orientation identity and preference. Exploratory analyses revealed that heterosexual participants' sexual orientation label was more “public, ” (more categories of people who knew the participants' sexual orientation), than was nonheterosexuals' in both Taiwan and the USA. In Taiwan, heterosexual and nonheterosexual participants reported similar proportions who were celibate. A gender difference within the USA subsample included that men reported significantly greater congruence than did women regarding sexual orientation identity and congruence between behavior and preference. Analyses comparing self-labeled sexual orientation groups on unwanted childhood sexual experiences and age of earliest voluntary sexual activity were not significant. This study's limitations included small numbers of bisexual (USA n = 27, Taiwan n = 17) or homosexual (USA n = 35, Taiwan n = 9) participants, prohibiting distinctions between them. Recommended future research includes examining the self-labeling process, Asian ...
Date: August 2002
Creator: Roberts, Mary Kathryn

Social Attitudes toward Men and Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Description: Although men are more likely to experience traumatic events, the risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is at least twice as high in women than in men after exposure to comparable traumas. These findings are more consistent in response to some types of trauma (e.g., assaultive violence) than others (e.g., natural disaster). There has been very little systematic study of the sources of these gender differences. This study began to explore the contribution of gender-related beliefs about appropriate responses to trauma by investigating the impact of victim sex and trauma type as well as participant sex, sex-role orientation, and personal trauma history on attitudes towards victims. Ninety-three male and 179 female students were administered the Bem Sex Role Inventory, the Trauma History Questionnaire, and a vignette measure of attitudes towards victims. Participants evaluated male victims significantly less favorably than female victims, and females had more positive attitudes towards victims than males. Feminine sex-typed and androgynous women rated victims more favorably than masculine sex-typed men and women. The interaction between sex of victim and trauma type was not significant. A positive relation was observed between personal trauma exposure and attitudes towards male victims among male participants only. These findings contribute towards a theoretical understanding of gender and PTSD, and also have important clinical applications.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Mendelsohn, Michaela