Does perfectionism mediate or moderate the relation between body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors?
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A link between perfectionism and disordered eating has been documented in previous studies. The purpose of the current study was to expand our knowledge of the specific role of perfectionism in disordered eating by examining perfectionism as a mediator or a moderator in the relation between body dissatisfaction and disordered eating (assessed using the EAT-26 and its subscales, and the Binge Scale). We sampled a large ethnically diverse sample of university women (N=520) using two measures of perfectionism: the Eating Disorder Inventory Perfectionism subscale (EDI-P) and the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (H-MPS). In general, socially prescribed and self-oriented perfectionism, but not other-oriented perfectionism, were correlated with disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, except binge eating. Furthermore, perfectionism was found to partially mediate and moderate the relation between body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, however the strength of these associations differed depending on both the particular measure of perfectionism (EDI-P versus H-MPS) and the specific dimension of perfectionism (self-oriented, socially prescribed, other-oriented) used in the analyses. The findings are discussed in relation to the need for more informed and theoretically sound models of the development and maintenance of disordered eating.
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