Term of Award

Summer 1984

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Daniel B. Nagelberg

Committee Member 1

Paul R. Kleinginna, Jr.

Committee Member 2

Cynthia Legin-Bucell


The goals of the present research were to (1) estimate the prevalence of bulimia in a sample of high school students, (2) identify demographic variables associated with bulimia, and (3) identify personality correlates of bulimia. Bulimic behaviors and personality characteristics were assessed in 257 high school students who were enrolled in two public high schools in Savannah, Georgia. The students in the sample included both males and females, representing various racial groups in grades 9 through 12. All of the students completed the California Psychological Inventory (CPI; Gough, 1975) and an eating habits questionnaire based on the criteria for bulimia as defined in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association, 1980). Of the 257 students, 12 (4.7%) were classified as bulimic, 88 (34.2%) as binge eaters, and 157 (61.1%) as normal eaters. Chi-square analyses revealed that sex was the only demographic variable significantly related to group (p < .05); all of the bulimic students were female. In females, CPI scores were not significantly different for the bulimic and binge eater groups. On two of the scales--sense of well-being (Wb) and communality (Cm)—bulimics and binge eaters scored significantly lower than normal eaters (all ps< .05), indicating that these students were more likely to be unambitious, awkward, cautious, self-defensive, impatient, nervous, confused, and to have internal conflicts and problems. In the case of males, none of the CPI scales significantly discriminated between binge eaters and normal eaters. Results are, for the most part, consistent with current research findings.

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