Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.




The purpose of this study was to investigate, within the framework of psychoanalytic self psychology, the ability to regulate affect and self-esteem, and the level of object relations and self-object experiences, in a group of 30 bulimic women. The relationships between self-regulatory functions and relational experiences, and severity of bulimic symptoms were examined. Comparisons of self-regulatory functions and relational experiences were made between the bulimic group and three control groups composed of 30 depressed women, 30 overweight dieting women, and 30 normal controls who were not overweight, not dieting, not depressed, and not bulimic. In addition, the self-regulatory function of weight control was examined, and compared across groups. The psychometric characteristics of three measures used in the study, namely the Soothing Receptivity Scale (Glassmen, 1988), the Symptoms of Fragmentation Scale (Vipond, 1988), and the Selfobject Needs Scale (Vipond, 1988) were also examined. Results indicated that the bulimic women had more difficulty regulating dysphoric affects and self-esteem, were more vulnerable to fragmentation experiences, and reported more primitive object relations and selfobject experiences than either the overweight dieters or the normal controls; however, the bulimic group did not differ significantly from the depressed group on these measures. Statistically significant relationships were found between self-regulatory deficits and levels of object and selfobject relations across groups. In addition, statistically significant relationships were found between self-regulatory deficits and relational experiences, and severity of some symptoms in the bulimic group. When the bulimic group imagined losing five pounds, they reported experiencing greater decreases in anxiety, depression, and symptoms of fragmentation, and greater increases in self-esteem than did subjects in any of the other three groups. When the bulimic group imagined gaining five pounds, however, they reported experiencing increases in anxiety, depression, and symptoms of fragmentation, and decreases in self-esteem which were greater only than those reported by the depressed group. Implications of the results were discussed as they relate to self psychology theory; to the relationships among bulimia, depression, and self-regulatory deficits; and to the treatment of bulimic women. Directions for future research were suggested.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1992 .V566. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 54-05, Section: B, page: 2777. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1992.