Eating Behaviours and Body Dissatisfaction: Relationships with Psychosocial Characteristics
Horne, Jennifer R
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Objectives: This study was designed to examine the psychosocial correlates of eating behaviours and body dissatisfaction in a general sample of adult men and women, as well as to investigate whether coping may mediate the effects of self-esteem or mood on body dissatisfaction and/or eating behaviours. Design & Methods: A cross-sectional design was employed, with a self-report questionnaire battery being administered to 85 male and 111 female adult participants. Measures included the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ), the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), the COPE (COPE), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and the Multi-dimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Results: Several predictors were identified in regression models; self-esteem was a significant predictor of emotional eating in men and a significant predictor of body dissatisfaction in women, negative affect was a significant predictor of emotional eating and body dissatisfaction in women, and avoidance coping was a significant predictor of emotional eating in both men and women and of external eating in women. Preliminary, mediational analyses in regression revealed avoidance coping to entirely mediate the effect of self-esteem on emotional eating in men, and the effect of negative affect on emotional eating in women. Conclusions: The results support and add to previous conclusions that psychosocial characteristics play a role in eating behaviours and body dissatisfaction. Implications of mediation are discussed with reference to the transactional model of stress, and, in light of current findings, directions for future research are considered.