Predictors of eating disorders in college-aged women : the role of competition and relational aggression
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Due to the seriousness and prevalence of eating disorders, exploring the etiology of these disorders and identifying specific at-risk populations is crucial. One promising risk factor that has been linked to the development of eating disorders is competitiveness (Burckle, Ryckman, Gold, Thornton, & Audesse, 1999; Striegel-Moore, Silberstein, Grunberg, & Rodin, 1990). Additionally, specific populations of women have been shown to experience higher rates of eating disorders. Women in sororities are one such group identified with higher rates of disordered eating than their non-sorority counterparts (Basow, Foran, Bookwala, 2007; Crandall,1988; Schulken, Pinciaro, Sawyer, Jensen, & Hoban, 1997). Therefore this study will seek to understand more about how competitiveness may differentially impact this population of women and contribute to higher rates of eating disorder symptomatology. This project has several objectives. First, the prevalence of eating disorders, competition among women, and relational aggression among women in sororities will be addressed. In order to assess whether women in sororities differ from women who are not in sororities on measures of eating disorders symptomatology, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be conducted. The constructs of competitiveness and relational aggression will be compared amongwomen in sororities and their non-sorority counterparts. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) will be conducted to determine whether there are mean differences between women in sororities and those not on four constructs of competitiveness (hypercompetitiveness, personal development competitiveness, female competition for status competitiveness, and female competition for mates competitiveness). Finally, an ANOVA will be conducted to determine if there are mean differences between women in sororities and women not in sororities on a measure of relational aggression. The second focus of this project is to examine if different forms of competitiveness are better at predicting eating disorders. The constructs of competitiveness that have been individually demonstrated to predict eating disorder behavior will be included. Multiple regression will be used to examine how well knowing a participant’s type of competitive attitude will help explain eating disorder symptomatology. Lastly, because the literature has not yet explored how relational aggression relates to the development of eating disorders, the final purpose of this study will be to understand this relationship. In attempting to understand this relationship, a mediation model will be performed. Participants for this study will include 270 undergraduate women from the Educational Psychology subject pool.