Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Jarry, J.


Psychology, Behavioral.




The purpose of the study was to investigate an evolutionary model of eating disorders. More specifically, this study tested Riadh Abed's Sexual Competition Theory of Eating Disorders (1998). This theory postulates that eating disorders arise through female intra-sexual competition for males. Specifically, females wish to present themselves as evolutionarily desirable to males (physically attractive, thin), causing some individuals to develop restrained eating patterns. This is important, as restraint is a precursor to disordered eating. Restraint refers to replacing internally regulated (hunger driven) eating with planned, cognitively determined eating or dietary restraint with the goal of weight loss or preventing weight gain. According to Abed's model, single women who have not yet found a mate are expected to eat less. Furthermore, because restrained eaters are more weight schematic, single restrained women are expected to eat even less. The hypotheses put forward were that all females would eat less in the presence of a desirable than in the presence of an undesirable potential mate, single females would eat less than committed females, and restrained, single females will eat the least of all groups. A total of 130 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to be exposed to descriptions of either two evolutionarily desirable mates or two evolutionarily undesirable mates. Participants were asked to choose between the two different mates and were given a bowl of pre-counted, pre-weighed M&Ms to snack on during this procedure. Results revealed a two-way interaction where single women who were exposed to the evolutionarily desirable mate ate the least amount of M&Ms. Contrary to expectations, restrained eaters ate more than unrestrained eaters.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .R63. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-03, page: 0990. Adviser: Josee L. Jarry. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.