Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Josee L. Jarry

Keywords

Clinical psychology

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Multiple factors contribute to the onset of eating disorders (EDs). Romantic stress is thought to be salient due to the importance of appearance in romantic attraction. Avoidance of stress has been specifically correlated to EDs. Avoidant coping is thought to potentiate effects of romantic stress, but only for individuals who base their self-worth on their appearance. This is the first study to investigate the association between avoidant coping style, romantic stress, basing self-worth on one's appearance, and the impact of these factors on the outcome variables of ED symptom severity, ED attitudes, and body dissatisfaction. Three hundred female undergraduates completed an online questionnaire. As predicted, avoidant coping was positively correlated with ED attitudes, and increased self-evaluative salience and elevated romantic stress led to the highest levels of ED attitudes. Contrary to predictions, this non-clinical sample did not engage in disordered eating behaviour as a means of avoidant coping.

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