Eating disorder attitudes and behaviors, perceived social support, and rumination in university students
Birmachu, Abigya M.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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The prevalence of eating disorder attitudes and behaviors (EDAB) is highest amongst college students but few receive treatment. It has been well established that rumination predicts EDAB. The Emotional Cascade Model (ECM) proposes that as rumination persists, negative affect is heightened until one engages in dysregulated behaviors, such as EDAB, to distract from ruminative thoughts and emotional distress. Social support has also been associated with EDAB. Support may be provided by family, friends, or significant others; however, it is unclear which domains impact EDAB. The current study explored three objectives: 1) determine if there is a relationship between perceived social support and EDAB, 2) identify if there is a relationship between rumination and EDAB, and 3) elucidate whether rumination moderates the relationship between perceived social support and EDAB. A sample of 300 students completed an online Qualtrics survey. Pearson's correlation and moderated regression analyses were performed. Perceived social support and rumination were associated with EDAB. Moreover, high rumination coupled with high perceived social support from significant others predicted eating, shape, and weight concerns, but not dietary restraint. Further research is needed to determine the mechanisms by which social support from significant others and rumination influence EDAB in university students.