Term of Award

Summer 2022

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

C. Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker

Abstract

Disordered eating behaviors are associated with a myriad of detrimental health and mental health consequences (Ackard et al., 2003; Bryla, 2003; Karkkainen et al., 2018; Quick & Byrd-Bredbenner, 2013). Previous research identifies trauma as a risk factor for disordered eating behaviors and eating disorders (Brewerton, 2007). For instance, individuals with eating disorders are more likely to report trauma than individuals with no such history (Lejonclou et al., 2014). However, because not all individuals with a history of trauma exhibit disordered eating, it is important to identify what factors might moderate this relationship. The current study aims to investigate coping-self efficacy as a potential moderator in the relationship between trauma and disordered eating. Coping self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to effectively cope with stressors (Chesney et al., 2006). Research examining the relationship between trauma and coping self-efficacy demonstrates that coping self-efficacy is associated with fewer posttraumatic stress symptoms and lower distress (Benight, Ironson, Klebe et al., 1999; Cieslak et al., 2008). Further, low coping-self efficacy is associated with disordered eating behaviors (MacNeil et al., 2012). Results indicated significant differences by location (rural, non-rural) for disordered eating. Specifically, participants residing in rural areas reported higher levels of disordered eating compared to participants in non-rural areas. Contrary to expectations, coping self-efficacy did not significantly moderate the relationship between disordered eating and trauma. Further, coping self-efficacy was positively associated with disordered eating behaviors. Consistent with predictions, participants with a history of childhood sexual trauma reported higher levels of disordered eating compared to participants with a histories of childhood non-sexual trauma, adult non-sexual trauma, and no trauma history. Clinical considerations and directions for further research are identified and discussed.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

Yes

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