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Honors Thesis




Poor body image and eating disorders are highly prevalent in Western cultures. In the United States alone, 10 million women and 1 million men struggle with an eating disorder (National Eating Disorders Association, 2008). In addition to these individuals with DSM classified disorders, evidence has been found that over 80% of American women are unhappy with their appearance (National Eating Disorders Association, 2008). There is evidence to suggest that negative body image is one of the key factors in determining whether or not an individual has or will develop dysfunctional eating habits (Cash & Deagle, 1996). The other key factor is negative eating attitudes (Sabiston, 2009). Although these two factors often coincide (Fabian & Thompson, 2006), it is important to recognize that negative body image does not always have a clear relationship with negative eating attitudes (Koff & Sangani, 1996). For this reason, it is important to assess each factor individually. While it is clear that distorted body image and dysfunctional attitudes toward food are prevalent (National Eating Disorders Association, 2008), it is decidedly less clear what factors may predispose someone so highly to those dysfunctional attitudes that they may develop an eating disorder.