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Addict Behav. 1998 Jan-Feb;23(1):1-6.

Social physique anxiety and disordered eating: what's the connection?

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Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton 76203, USA.NDIEHL@TERRILL.UNT.EDU


Social physique anxiety (SPA) is highly correlated with other body image measures that have been considered to be important in understanding eating disorders. However, SPA has not been directly studied with respect to eating disorders. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the link between SPA and measures of eating disorder symptomatology to determine if SPA should be considered as an additional risk factor in the prediction of eating disturbances. One hundred and sixty female undergraduates completed questionnaires measuring body mass index (BMI), social physique anxiety (SPAS), anorexic symptoms (EAT), bulimic symptoms (BULIT-R), depression (CES-D), self-esteem (SES) and obligatory exercise (OEQ). Regression analyses revealed that SPA and depression were the psychological correlates that predicted bulimic symptomatology and that SPA, depression, and obligatory exercise predicted anorexic symptomatology; all variables were positively related to eating disorder symptoms. Overall, the results indicate that social physique anxiety appears to be a useful construct for understanding eating disorder symptoms in female undergraduates.

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