Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

De St. Aubin, Ed

Second Advisor

Grych, John

Third Advisor

Wierzbicki, Michael

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the role of parental factors and individual ego development in identifying an at-risk profile for eating disordered behavior among female emerging adults. Specifically, this study was designed to test the hypotheses that parent eating attitudes and behavior and parenting style are correlated phenomena associated with a self-reported proclivity for eating disordered behavior among female offspring with individual ego development level as either a protective or exacerbating factor. Previous research with parental factors and eating disorders does not address a comprehensive model that utilizes the multiple parental variables of parent eating attitudes and behavior and parenting style, and young adult ego development. It was predicted that those at risk for developing an eating disorder would report experiencing their parents' style as high in control and low in warmth or low in control and high in warmth, parents will report a higher incidence of personal eating disordered behaviors and attitudes, and the student's level of ego development will mediate the impact of these parental factors. A total of 131 mother-daughter dyads were used for this project. There were significant correlations found between daughters' approach to eating and mothers' approach to eating and mothers' parenting style. However, there was no relationship between ego development and any of the predictor variables or daughters' approach to eating, precluding ego development as a mediator. Ego development also did not emerge as a moderator in an alternative model. Additionally, only mothers' approach to eating continued to be a significant predictor of daughters' approach to eating when factoring out impact on daughters' personal well-being. Mothers' parenting style was found to not be a significant predictor of daughters' approach to eating once personal well-being was factored out as a covariate. These results support the impact of mothers' approach to eating, but more research needs to be conducted in examining the relationship between parenting style, ego development, and daughters' approach to eating.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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