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How specific are the relationships between eating disorder behaviors and perfectionism?

Authors
Journal
Eating Behaviors
1471-0153
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
14
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2013.04.003
Keywords
  • Perfectionism
  • Eating Disorders
  • Disordered Eating
  • Neuroticism
  • Conscientiousness
  • Personality

Abstract

Abstract Perfectionism is associated with several mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The goal of this study was to test the specificity of the associations between perfectionism facets and eating disorder behaviors, by examining whether neuroticism and conscientiousness mediated or moderated associations between these variables. Participants from a representative community sample (N=407; 47% female) completed questionnaires assessing perfectionism, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and eating disorder behaviors. Neuroticism partially mediated associations between binge eating, restraint, body dissatisfaction, and maladaptive perfectionism facets. Neuroticism did not mediate associations between restriction and achievement striving perfectionism facets. Conscientiousness did not mediate any associations between perfectionism facets and eating disorder behaviors, yet Doubts about Actions interacted with conscientiousness to predict body dissatisfaction. Results indicate that neuroticism is key for understanding general risk factors that lead to myriad internalizing disorders, whereas maladaptive perfectionism has limited usefulness as a specific risk factor for eating disorder behaviors. Nevertheless, there is a unique association between dietary restraint and achievement striving dimensions of perfectionism that cannot be explained by higher-order personality traits.

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