Presentation Title

Models of Eating Disorders: Associations with Self-Esteem, Schemas, and Ethnicity

Location

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Eating disordered (ED) symptoms are prevalent among adolescent and emerging adult samples. Given the emotional and physical problems associated eating disordered pathology (Robles, 2011), it is imperative that researchers construct models to identify potential pathways by which EDs develop. Researchers also need to examine ethnic variation in these models as EDs manifest differently in European versus African Americans (Sala et al., 2013). Most clinical theories highlight low self-esteem as a unique determinant of ED features (Fairburn et al., 2003). Although a litany of empirical evidence supports these theories (Reel, 2013), it is unknown whether or not the relations between self-esteem and EDs are dependent upon the effects of a third variable. Researchers argue that maladaptive cognitive schemas are important in the development of EDs (Leung & Price, 2007; Unoka, Tolgyes, & Czobor, 2007). For instance, individuals with more negative self-schemas report increased ED behaviors over a 12-month period when compared to healthy controls (Stein & Corte, 2008). However, research has yet to investigate whether self-esteem and schemas interact to predict variance in ED features. Two specific schemas are likely to further explain our understanding of the relations between self-esteem and ED symptoms: approval seeking (excessive need to gain approval or be recognized) and hypercriticalness (the belief that one must strive to meet extremely high standards to avoid criticism; Young, 2005). The purpose of the current was to examine the moderated effects of two schemas on the relation between self-esteem and ED symptoms across ethnic groups. Participants included 486 college students, 293 women (60.2%) and 194 men (39.8%). The mean age of the participants was 19.57 years. The majority of the participants self-identified as European American (n = 280, 57.5%) or African American (n = 207, 42.5%). Correlations and moderated models were analyzed for European Americans and African Americans separately. For African Americans, results revealed that disordered eating was significantly correlated with self-esteem (r = -.21), approval seeking (r = .25), and hypercriticalness (r = .16). For European Americans, disordered eating was significantly correlated with self-esteem (r = -.27), approval seeking (r = .37), hypercriticalness (r = .29). Four multiple regression models were analyzed. Moderation effects are significant when the interaction term between the predictor variable and moderating variable can uniquely predict variance in the outcome variable. Although self-esteem and approval seeking schemas were retained as significant predictors, the interaction terms did not explain unique variance in disordered eating for African Americans. These results indicate that cognitive schemas do not moderate the relation between self-esteem and disordered eating for African Americans. Alternatively, the interaction between self-esteem and approval seeking schemas (b = -.66, p < .01) and the interaction between self-esteem and hypercriticalness (b = -.56, p < .05) contributed unique variance to disordered eating for European Americans. These results suggest that low levels of approval seeking and hypercriticalness schemas dampen the effects of low self-esteem on disordered eating. These findings pinpoint cognitive psychotherapy as important in helping clinicians ameliorate the negative effects of low self-esteem for individuals at-risk for EDs.

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Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 10:45 AM

End Date

4-16-2016 12:00 PM

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Apr 16th, 10:45 AM Apr 16th, 12:00 PM

Models of Eating Disorders: Associations with Self-Esteem, Schemas, and Ethnicity

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

Eating disordered (ED) symptoms are prevalent among adolescent and emerging adult samples. Given the emotional and physical problems associated eating disordered pathology (Robles, 2011), it is imperative that researchers construct models to identify potential pathways by which EDs develop. Researchers also need to examine ethnic variation in these models as EDs manifest differently in European versus African Americans (Sala et al., 2013). Most clinical theories highlight low self-esteem as a unique determinant of ED features (Fairburn et al., 2003). Although a litany of empirical evidence supports these theories (Reel, 2013), it is unknown whether or not the relations between self-esteem and EDs are dependent upon the effects of a third variable. Researchers argue that maladaptive cognitive schemas are important in the development of EDs (Leung & Price, 2007; Unoka, Tolgyes, & Czobor, 2007). For instance, individuals with more negative self-schemas report increased ED behaviors over a 12-month period when compared to healthy controls (Stein & Corte, 2008). However, research has yet to investigate whether self-esteem and schemas interact to predict variance in ED features. Two specific schemas are likely to further explain our understanding of the relations between self-esteem and ED symptoms: approval seeking (excessive need to gain approval or be recognized) and hypercriticalness (the belief that one must strive to meet extremely high standards to avoid criticism; Young, 2005). The purpose of the current was to examine the moderated effects of two schemas on the relation between self-esteem and ED symptoms across ethnic groups. Participants included 486 college students, 293 women (60.2%) and 194 men (39.8%). The mean age of the participants was 19.57 years. The majority of the participants self-identified as European American (n = 280, 57.5%) or African American (n = 207, 42.5%). Correlations and moderated models were analyzed for European Americans and African Americans separately. For African Americans, results revealed that disordered eating was significantly correlated with self-esteem (r = -.21), approval seeking (r = .25), and hypercriticalness (r = .16). For European Americans, disordered eating was significantly correlated with self-esteem (r = -.27), approval seeking (r = .37), hypercriticalness (r = .29). Four multiple regression models were analyzed. Moderation effects are significant when the interaction term between the predictor variable and moderating variable can uniquely predict variance in the outcome variable. Although self-esteem and approval seeking schemas were retained as significant predictors, the interaction terms did not explain unique variance in disordered eating for African Americans. These results indicate that cognitive schemas do not moderate the relation between self-esteem and disordered eating for African Americans. Alternatively, the interaction between self-esteem and approval seeking schemas (b = -.66, p < .01) and the interaction between self-esteem and hypercriticalness (b = -.56, p < .05) contributed unique variance to disordered eating for European Americans. These results suggest that low levels of approval seeking and hypercriticalness schemas dampen the effects of low self-esteem on disordered eating. These findings pinpoint cognitive psychotherapy as important in helping clinicians ameliorate the negative effects of low self-esteem for individuals at-risk for EDs.