UBC Theses and Dissertations
Psychosocial variables of eating disordered women : assertiveness, intimate relationships, interpersonal distrust, and social self-esteem Silverton, Toby Irene
This study examined the psychosocial variables of assertiveness, intimate relationships, interpersonal distrust, and social self-esteem in eating disordered and non-eating disordered women. Assertiveness was examined between three eating disordered subgroups, namely, restricting anorexics, previously anorexic bulimics, and never anorexic bulimics, in an attempt to answer the question: Are there differences in assertiveness between these subgroups? Intimate relationships, interpersonal distrust, and social self-esteem were examined between the overall eating disordered group and the non-eating disordered group. It was expected that eating disordered women, as compared to non-eating disordered women would report more difficulty in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships, higher interpersonal distrust, and lower social self-esteem. The subjects were 82 females (41 eating disordered and 41 non-eating disordered), aged 19 to 40 years. Eating disordered subjects were recruited from a local support group for women with eating disorders. None of the eating disordered subjects were hospitalized at the time of testing. Eating disordered subjects were classified using the DSM-III (1980) criteria for anorexia nervosa and Russell's (1979) criteria for bulimia nervosa. Non-eating disordered subjects were nursing students at a local community college. Non-eating disordered subjects were screened using the Eating Attitudes Test in order to prevent the inclusion of women with mild eating disorders into the comparison group. All subjects completed a battery of tests including: The Eating Attitudes Test; The Assertion Inventory; The Adult Self-Perception Profile; The Eating Disorder Inventory; The Social Self-Esteem Inventory; arid a demographic information sheet. All subjects were weighed and their height measured. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance was computed for the assertiveness measures of discomfort and response probability, examining differences between the three eating disordered subgroups. No significant differences were found. Post hoc analysis between the overall eating disordered group and the non-eating disordered group revealed highly significant differences between the two groups on both assertiveness measures (ϱ<.001). An examination of the means revealed that the eating disordered group experiences more discomfort in situations requiring assertiveness, and are less likely to respond assertively in those situations. Intimate relationships, interpersonal distrust, and social self-esteem were tested using a one-way multivariate analysis of variance. Differences were tested between the eating disordered and non-eating disordered groups. Highly significant differences were found between the groups on all three measures (ϱ<.001). An examination of the means revealed that the eating disordered group have more difficulty in forming and maintaining intimate relationships, a greater degree of interpersonal distrust, and less social self-esteem. Implications of these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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