Several variables have been related to anorexic symptoms, including socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP), thin ideal internalization (TII), and body dissatisfaction (BD). We sought to extend a previous model of bulimic symptom development to anorexic symptom development. An online survey collected data from 114 predominantly European American undergraduate women attending a Southeastern university. First, we determined whether SPP predicted anorexic symptoms and whether this relationship was mediated by BD. The analyses revealed that SPP predicted anorexic symptoms, b = .04, t(114) = 2.41, p = .018. BD was found to mediate this relationship, indirect effect = .02, 95% bias-corrected CI [.01, .05]. We then focused on a similar pathway where TII was the independent variable. We concluded that TII did predict anorexic symptoms, b = .17, t(114) = 4.85, p < .001. However, BD only partially mediated this relationship, indirect effect = .10, 95% bias-corrected CI [.06, .15]. Last, we combined the two models into a larger model using structural equation modeling; SPP and TII were hypothesized as occurring first in the model and being independent of one another. The results supported the final model, χ2 (1, N = 114) = 1.14, p = .285, GFI = .995, SRMR = .021, NFI = .991, CFI = .999, RMSEA = .035. We concluded that the development of anorexic symptoms may follow a similar path to that of bulimic symptoms. The findings provide important implications for possible prevention strategies.
PSI CHI JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 23, NO. 1, pp. 28-39.