Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Donald A. Williamson

Abstract

Eating disorder symptoms such as feelings of fatness, restrictive eating and purgative behaviors are observed in many children and adolescents. These feelings and behaviors, may, in some adolescents lead to the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A recent series of studies has identified risk factors for the development of eating disorder behaviors in children and adolescents. These risk factors include overconcern with physical appearance, negative evaluation of physical appearance, social pressure for thinness, higher weight level, depression, and body dysphoria. It has been hypothesized that targeting adolescents who are at risk for developing an eating disorder may result in more effective prevention efforts. The current study developed and implemented a primary prevention program, called the Body Logic Program, targeting those adolescents most at-risk for the development of an eating disorder. The study examined the immediate effects of the Body Logic Program on the general student body, as well as, those students identified as at-risk for the development of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Subjects were 287 sixth and seventh graders from two area private schools. Students were screened to ascertain risk status. Fifty-five were identified as meeting criteria for at-risk status. Students identified as at-risk were primarily female (83.6%). All students received a school education component of the Body Logic Program which targeted body image concerns and nutrition knowledge, and the at-risk students were invited to attend an expanded program. However, efforts to attract the students identified as at-risk for eating disorders for participation in the expanded program proved unsuccessful. The school education component led to decreases in scores on the Fear of Fatness scale for all females, as well as at-risk females from School 1. This effect was not demonstrated in male participants. The general education was not effective at increasing students nutrition knowledge. Despite the failure to attract at-risk students, the Body Logic Program shows promise as a prevention program for eating disorders.

ISBN

9780591591729

Pages

143

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