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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Multidimensional perfectionism and body image dysfunction in the prediction of eating disorder symptoms McGee, Brandy Jennifer

Abstract

The relationship between perfectionism and eating disorders has long been recognized, if not well understood. The current study tested a diathesis-stress model of the associations among multidimensional perfectionism, body image discrepancy, body image investment, and anorexic and bulimic symptoms in 145 female university students. The findings indicated that socially prescribed perfectionism, perfectionistic self-promotion, non display of imperfection, and nondisclosure of imperfection were associated with both anorexic and bulimic symptoms, suggesting that the social facets of perfectionism may be most relevant to eating disorder symptoms. Further, for the self-presentation dimensions these results were qualified by a moderation effect. The results showed that perfectionistic self-presentation predicted both anorexic and bulimic symptoms in women who were dissatisfied with their bodies, but that it did not predict eating problems in women who liked their bodies and felt there was little or no discrepancy between their actual and ideal appearances. Moreover, body image investment did not moderate the relationship between trait and self-presentational perfectionism and eating disorder symptoms. The results are discussed in light of personality and social psychology theory on escape from aversive self-awareness and construction of the social self.

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