Award Date

8-1-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Cortney S. Warren

Second Committee Member

Mark H. Ashcraft

Third Committee Member

Marta Meana

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages

118

Abstract

Body checking is defined as behavior aimed at monitoring changes in one's weight or shape, such as measuring or pinching certain body parts, repeatedly checking one's shape in the mirror, trying on clothes to gauge fit, feeling for protruding bones, or frequently weighing one's self. Theoretically, body checking may be the behavioral manifestation of a core feature of eating disorders: overevaluation of body weight and shape. Although the nature and correlates of body checking in female and male college students without eating disorders are understudied, one recent study by Haase and colleagues (2007) found that social physique anxiety mediated the relationship between body checking beliefs and behaviors in women. To expand on these findings, the goals of this study were: (1) to test the fit of Haase and colleagues' (2007) foundational model in a nonclinical sample of college women and men; (2) to test the fit of an expanded model that included the additional constructs of social appearance anxiety, trait eating pathology, and clinical impairment; and (3) to explore potential sex differences in the fit of this expanded model. Results from path analyses conducted with a sample of 337 men and 567 women did not support Haase and colleagues' (2007) model, suggesting that social physique anxiety may not mediate the relationship between body checking cognitions and behaviors as predicted. Furthermore, the fit of the expanded path model was poor in both men and women, suggesting that the added constructs did not influence body checking behavior in the predicted way. However, re-specified models did fit the data well for women and reasonably well for men. Contrary to hypotheses, social physique anxiety appeared to be more salient to the prediction of body checking behaviors in women than men. Aside from this finding, there were few sex differences in the final path models. Overall, the results of this study provide a preliminary model for understanding the correlates of body checking behaviors in male and female college students. Additional research is needed to expand our understanding of sex differences and to clarify the independence of social physique and social appearance anxiety.

Keywords

Body checking; Body image; Body image disturbance; Clinical impairment; Eating disorders; Eating pathology; Self-consciousness (Sensitivity); Social appearance anxiety; Social physique anxiety

Disciplines

Psychology

Language

English


Included in

Psychology Commons

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