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Coping, daily hassles, and perfectionism: chronicity in binge eating in female university students Mallin, Barbara N.


Binge eating is an eating disorder that is chronic and has a high relapse rate. The literature suggests a need to separately examine variables that maintain the disorder and variables that initiate this disorder. This study examined the relationship between problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, daily hassles, self-oriented perfectionism, socially-prescribed perfectionism, and the severity of binge eating. Eighty-one female university students who had been binge eating for over six months completed four questionnaires, consisting of the COPE scale (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub,1989), the Medical Education Hassles Scale-R (Wolf, Elston, & Kissling, 1989,1991), the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Hewitt & Flett, 1989, 1991),and the Binge Scale (Hawkins & Clement, 1980). A simultaneous multiple regression analysis was conducted with binge eating as the criterion variable, and problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, daily hassles, self-oriented perfectionism, and socially-prescribed perfectionism as the predictors. The regression equation for binge eating reached significance, E(5,75) = 12.76, 12. < .0001, and accounted for 42% of the variance in binge eating. Two variables, daily hassles and socially-prescribed perfectionism, were significantly positively related to binge eating. Daily hassles accounted for 34% of the variance in binge eating, and socially-prescribed perfectionism accounted for 33%. The results indicate that high daily hassles and high socially-prescribed perfectionism are associated with greater binge eating. These findings provide support for examining the role of stress, measured as daily hassles, as a maintenance factor in binge eating. Further support was found for the role of socially-prescribed perfectionism, a personality construct that may contribute to the maintenance of binge eating.

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