Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in School Psychology


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Dihoff, Roberta


Eating disorders; Women college students


Educational Psychology


Eating disordered behaviors of fasting, binge-eating, and vomiting and purging have increased in prevalence and are approaching epidemic proportions. It is estimated that 1 in 100 females age 12 to 18 are anorexic, while as many as 1 in 4 college-age women are thought to be bulimic or engage in other forms of disturbed eating. Research indicates that those who are eating disordered are more dissatisfied with their bodies, have lower self-esteem, and have a greater tendency to endorse sociocultural mores regarding thinness and attractiveness. The present study investigated a) the prevalence of eating disorders among college women, and b) the relationship between eating disorders and body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and degree of endorsement of sociocultural mores regarding thinness and attractiveness. The Eating Disorder Inventory and the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire were administered to 66 undergraduate females at a college in Southern New Jersey. Results indicated a 21% prevalence rate for eating disorders, and strong correlations between disturbed eating and greater body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem, and greater tendency to endorse sociocultural beliefs regarding the desirability of female thinness and attractiveness. Because of the increasing prevalence of eating disorders, and the fact that dieting is occurring in vast numbers as early as elementary school, education, awareness, and early intervention is critical in our schools.