Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Nutrition

Major Professor

Sarah Colby

Committee Members

Elizabeth Anderson-Steeves, Melissa Hansen-Petrik

Abstract

Background: An eating disorder is defined as a severe disturbance to a person’s eating behaviors or obsessions with food, body weight, and/or shape. Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits such as skipping meals or avoiding specific food groups among others. Although eating disorders are most commonly seen in young female adults, they often develop earlier during adolescence and can also be seen. Research with adult populations has identified the relationship between eating disorders and personality traits. Specifically, neuroticism is positively associated with increased eating disorder tendencies. However, it is unknown if this same relationship between personality and eating disorders exists in males and female adolescent populations.Methods: A non-experimental associational and comparative cross-sectional survey design was used for this study to assess the eating disorder symptoms and personalities characteristic of individuals in a non-clinical, adolescent sample (n=95). The had a mean age of 16.5 years; 55.8% males; 41.1% (n=39) Black, 34.7% (n=33) Caucasian, and 17.9% (n=17) Asian enrolled in a public high school in the southeastern U.S.Results: Researchers found an overall eating disorder prevalence of symptomatic eating disorder levels of 12.6% (n=12). After performing a Spearman correlation, no association was found between eating disorder symptoms and personality categories.Conclusion: These results contrast with previous findings of an association between eating disorder symptoms and the neurotic category and should be further investigated in the adolescent population.

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