The Relationship between Self-Reported Bulimic Behavior and Cardiovascular Reactivity to a Weight Stressor
Description: This investigation sought to identify anxiety responses to weight measurement, assessed by verbal report and cardiovascular reactivity CCR3 (systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate), which might differentiate females with either high or low self-reported bulimic behavior. Secondar i ly,, the study attempted to examine specific autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal patterns of each group over time. The Bulimia Test (BULIT), Body Dissatisfaction Scale (BD), and a demographic questionnaire were administered to 105 undergraduate females at The University of North Texas. Based on BULIT scores, females were divided into high or low bulimic behavior groups. Of the 105 females screened, forty participated in the experiment which consisted of four phases: relaxation, anticipation of weight measurement, weight measurement, and recovery. Subjects had no prior knowledge of the weight stressor until presentation during the experiment. Results showed that subjects' notion of ideal weight was substantially lower than measured weight. During weight measurement, all subjects reported increased anxiety although the high group reported significantly more anxiety. Contrary to prediction, no significant group differences in CR were found when repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed. Orthogonal polynomial trend analysis was done with pooled groups, resulting in significant within-subject trends for all cardiovascular measures. There was also a significant group by time of measurement interaction for heart rate during the weight measurement phase. Correlational analyses failed to produce significant results between verbal report of anxiety and CR. There was, however, a significant correlation between BULIT and BD scores. It was concluded that heightened subjective anxiety during weight measurement could not be attributed to group differences in CR. Regarding ANS arousal patterns, mixed evidence of active and passive coping was seen. Nevertheless, both psychological and physiological measures supported an overvaluation of female thinness consistent with societal trends regardless of group membership. Implications ...
Date: August 1993
Creator: Marcontell, Deborah K. (Deborah Kay)