ANOREXIA NERVOSA, BULIMIA, AND OBESITY: BODY WEIGHT AND BULIMIA AS DISCRIMINATORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS.
AuthorPAZDA, SUSAN LYNN.
KeywordsAnorexia nervosa -- Psychological aspects.
Bulimia -- Psychological aspects.
Obesity -- Psychological aspects.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study hypothesized body weight and eating patterns to be important discriminators of psychological characteristics among eating disordered groups. A total of 146 bulimic and non-bulimic women from underweight (anorexic), normal weight, and overweight (obese) categories were examined. Based upon the theoretical and research literature reviewed, this study hypothesized locus of control, personal potency, self-esteem, and psychopathology to be central psychological characteristics in anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and obesity. These variables were measured by Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, the Semantic Differential Potency Scale, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, respectively. The relative importance of these variables in the disorders was also addressed. Results showed women in the eating disordered groups examined to demonstrate the following psychological characteristics: (1) Non-bulimic anorexics--an external locus of control, low self-esteem, and hysteria; (2) Bulimic anorexics--the greatest external locus of control, the lowest self-esteem, psychopathic deviance, hysteria, thought disorder, depression, a preoccupation with somatic concerns, and hypofemininity; (3) Normal weight bulimics--an external locus of control, low self-esteem, psychopathic deviance, hysteria, thought disorder, and depression; (4) Non-bulimic obese--low self-esteem; and (5) Bulimic obese--low self-esteem, an external locus of control, thought disorder and depression. The primary conclusion drawn from this study is that bulimia is a better predictor of the psychological characteristics than body weight. Bulimia, across all weight categories, was associated with an external locus of control, low self-esteem, psychopathic deviance, hysteria, thought disorder, and depression. That there was little variability in personality characteristics associated with bulimia across weight categories emphasized the stability of the symptom constellation associated with this disorder. This study supported the view of the normal weight bulimic as psychologically similar to the bulimic anorexic. This study also supported the stance that simple obesity does not represent a unitary psychological disorder.