M.S. (Master of Science)
School of Health Studies
The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant difference in the presence of body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating among NIU college students.
The objectives of the study included: determining if there was a significant difference in the presence of body image dissatisfaction among NIU college students, determine if there was a significant difference in the presence of disordered eating among NIU college students, and to determine if there is a relationship between body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating among NIU college students.
The transition into college and graduate school is challenging and can induce high levels of stress. Elevated stress levels, body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating are common among college-age students. This trio (stress, body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating) puts this population at high risk for developing a clinically diagnosable eating disorder.
Determining significant differences in the presence of body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating amongst NIU’s college would potentially allow for an intervention program to be created and implemented within this population. If a proper program is executed, body image satisfaction has the potential to increase and a lower incidence of disordered eating may be reported. Hypothetically, higher levels of body image satisfaction and lower levels of disordered eating would be protective factors against the development of a clinical eating disorder.
This research study was quantitative and cross-sectional in nature. A survey was distributed across campus, given to both undergraduates and graduate students via an online format. Males and females were included in the survey. IRB approval was obtained from Northern Illinois University prior to distributing the survey. Professors were contacted and asked to announce the survey to their students to help with recruitment. The survey was opened for three months.
Once collected, an independent sample t-test was performed to identify any differences in the presence of disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction based on academic status and gender. A Spearman’s Rho was done to determine if there was a relationship between disordered eating and body image satisfaction. A total of 67 students participated in this study. Females accounted for 89.5% of the responses (n = 60) leaving the males representing 10.5% (n = 7). There was a more even distribution of undergraduates (n = 42) to graduates (n = 25). There is a significant monotonic relationship between disordered eating habits and body image dissatisfaction.
This study found no significant difference between gender and/or academic status on the presence of disordered eating and/or body image dissatisfaction. In contrast, a significant relationship was found between disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction, as p < .001 and rs = .751 This study concludes as the rate of body image dissatisfaction increases, the rate of disordered eating patterns increases as well. This study was limited in its design and further research in this area is necessary.
Mattillion, Sara, "Body Image Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Behaviors Among NIU Students" (2019). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 7412.
Northern Illinois University
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