Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Thomas, Cheryl,


Psychology, Clinical.




Although numerous eating disorder risk factors have been identified, protective factors have been underresearched (Shisslak & Crago, 2001). Moreover, despite calls by prevention researchers, our understanding of disordered eating during preadolescence is limited (Smolak & Levine, 2001). The objective of the present study was to identify potential protective and risk factors for eating disturbances in preadolescent girls. The sample consisted of 381 preadolescent girls in grades 4--6. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires assessing such constructs as disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, self-esteem, emotional autonomy, attributional style, coping strategies, perceived social pressures for thinness, parental care/overcontrol, and peer support. Potential protective and risk factors were evaluated using person-focussed and variable-focussed designs. The person-focussed design strategy was borrowed from the child psychopathology resilience literature (Masten, 2001), and consisted of comparisons of groups of participants with different risk/outcome profiles. The variable-focussed component consisted of a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses. The results of the person-focussed phase were of questionable validity due to problems with the classification system. However, multiple regression findings indicated that increased self-esteem and decreased pressure for thinness from media, peers, and parents were associated with decreased disordered eating. There was some preliminary support for the association between coping and disordered eating. These variables may be potential risk/protective factors for disordered eating in preadolescent girls, and future research should evaluate whether they are causally linked using longitudinal designs.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2002 .W35. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-06, Section: B, page: 2945. Adviser: Cheryl Thomas. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2002.