Term of Award

Winter 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Larry Locker


Determining vulnerability factors to eating disorders is imperative due to the life-threatening nature associated with them. Perfectionism is noted as a precursor and maintaining factor in eating disorder pathology (Fairburn, Cooper, & Shafran, 2003). However, the link between perfectionism and eating disorder pathology may be better understood by investigating potential mediating variables. Examining motivational strategies for establishing self-esteem could provide beneficial information regarding these relationships (Johnson & Blom, 2007). The purpose of the current study was to explore the relations between perfectionistic self-presentation and features of eating disorder pathology via contingent self-esteem. Data were collected from 383 university undergraduate students who completed measures examining perfectionistic self-presentation, eating attitudes, body shape, social anxiety, and contingent self-esteem. Results indicate that perfectionistic self-presentation is directly related to eating disorder risk. Additionally, these variables are indirectly related to each other through relation-based self-esteem, but not competence-based self-esteem. Overall, these findings provide useful information in the treatment of eating disorder pathology through the enhancement of general self-esteem. By use of interventions involving self-compassion, individuals with eating disorder pathology may shift their focus from desiring approval of others and learn to accept themselves.

Research Data and Supplementary Material