Term of Award

Summer 1985

Degree Name

Master of Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Daniel B. Nagelberg

Committee Member 1

Richard L. Rogers

Committee Member 2

Gary McClure

Abstract

Bulimia is an eating disorder that has received increasing attention in the psychological and psychiatric literature. Since bulimia is a high risk in young females, it has been studied extensively in college female populations. Bulimic symptoms are typically assessed by means of a questionnaire based on the criteria for bulimia as outlined in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association, 1980). In the present study, students who initially completed such a questionnaire were classified as bulimic or nonbulimic. Students who participated further in this study were administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI; Hathaway & McKinley, 1967), the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI; Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy, 1983), and the DSM-III questionnaire. The criteria for bulimia were then assessed via a structured interview and each student was weighed. Each student was then classified as "bulimic" (responses were consistent with the criteria for bulimia on both the initial questionnaire and the interview), "pseudobulimic" (responses were consistent with the criteria for bulimia on the initial questionnaire, but not during the interview), and control (responses did not indicate any problems with bulimia on either the initial questionnaire or the interview). Results indicated that a greater proportion of bulimics than pseudobulimics and controls were overweight (£ < .05). MMPI scores were significantly different for the bulimics and pseudobulimics (all jd's < .05) for three of the scales—Depression (D), Psychasthenia (Pt), and Social Introversion (Si)—indicating higher levels of depression, anxiety, and sensitivity as well as poor self-esteem for the bulimic students. The bulimic students also scored higher than the pseudobulimic students on three scales of the EDI—Drive for Thinness (DT), Bulimia (B), and Interpersonal Distrust (ID)—indicating greater obsession with food and weight control as well as guilt proneness. Results suggest that future research with bulimic students employ a validation procedure (i.e., interview) for subject identification so that valid group assignment is assured and subsequent comparisons among groups are more meaningful.

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