ERIC Number: ED348639
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Parental Attachment, Psychological Separation and Eating Disorder Symptoms among College Women.
Kenny, Maureen E.
In this study the relationship of parental attachment and psychological separation to levels of eating disorder symptoms was examined for a sample of college women (N=162) from English classes at a private, urban, coeducational Jesuit university in the northeast. Participants resonded to the Parental Attachment Questionnaire, the Parental Separation Inventory, and the Eating Disorder Inventory. Consistent with expectations the results suggested that family relationships characterized by secure parental attachment are associated with adaptive psychological functioning and low levels of dysfunctional eating behaviors involving compulsive binge eating and self-induced vomiting. Contrary to expectations, characteristics of parental attachment were not associated with Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction. Other research has shown that high levels of body dissatisfaction are common among college women, while the psychological traits associated with clinical eating disorders, such as maturity fears, are less common. The expectation that characteristics of psychological separation would be useful in identifying maladaptive aspects of family relationships was partially supported. The findings suggest that characteristics of secure attachment, including positive affect, parental support for autonomy, and use of parents as a source of emotional support, in conjunction with freedom from feelings of guilt, anxiety, anger, and resentment in the parental relationship and the expression of attitudes similar to one's parents are associated with low incidence of bulimic behavior, feelings of personal effectiveness and an absence of maturity fears among first-year college women. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).