Online Program

Exploring disordered eating among college females using the objectification theory

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Caroline Payne-Purvis, MS, Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Mindy Menn, MS, CHES, Department of Health Education & Behavior, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL
Beth Chaney, PhD, MCHES, Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Michael Stellefson, PhD, Department of Health Education & Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Don Chaney, PhD, CHES, Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Background: Approximately 20.5 million females between the ages of 12 and 26 exhibit disordered eating behaviors with 85% of onset occurring by age 20. Previous research explored the relationship between females' disordered eating behaviors and their objectification experiences though Objectification Theory. This study examines the relationship between disordered eating and objectification experiences among a sample of undergraduate females. Methods: Data were collected across three semesters in 2012, through an online survey comprised of items from the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS), distributed to distance education introductory health course students. Investigators conducted descriptive statistics, correlations, and linear regression analyses. Results: Of the 592 female respondents, most were white (70.0%), heterosexual (95.2%), single or dating without a steady partner (59.8%), and either of junior or senior classification (53.2%). Correlation analyses revealed a statistically significant relationship between EAT-26 and OBCS composite scores (r=.570, p=.000). Two of the OBCS subscales, Body Shame and Body Surveillance, were also statistically significantly related to EAT-26 total scores (r=.580, p=.000; r=.483, p=.000). Linear regression analyses indicated that OBCS total score, Body Shame, and Body Surveillance subscale scores were statistically significant at p=.000 level in predicting EAT-26 composite scores. Demographic factors including participants' race, grade point average, sexual orientation, relationship status, academic classification, and college major were not Conclusion: The results of this study are of limited generalizability. Results indicate objectification experiences strongly predict disordered eating behaviors among college females.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify two instruments to assess disordered eating and objectification experiences of females. Describe three physical risks of disordered eating.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a Master of Science degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, I am a current doctoral student in Health Education and Behavior with a focus on eating behaviors among college students.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.