Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food and Nutrition

First Advisor

Peterson, Sharon


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF MICHELLE OSTIEN, for the Master of Science degree in FOOD AND NUTRITION, presented on November 20, 2008, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN FEMALES WITH REGARDS TO PERFECTIONISM IN THOSE WITH ANOREXIA NERVOSA, HIGH BMI (BINGE EATERS VS. NON-BINGE EATERS), AND THOSE SEEKING A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Sharon Peterson One in five women in the United States struggle with an eating disorder or distorted eating patterns (National Institute of Mental Health, 2001). Perfectionism, one of the risk factors for developing an eating disorder, is a trait that many of these women have in common. While much research has been done on perfectionism in women with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, few studies have looked at perfectionism in women with binge eating disorder (Pratt, Telch, Labouvie, Wilson, & Agras, 2001). Our study sought to further understand the similarities and differences of the total and individual components of perfectionism in females seeking a healthier lifestyle, high BMI binge eaters, high BMI non-binge eaters, and anorexics. Our study found that the first component of the perfectionism scale (representing self-oriented perfectionism) was found to be significant between groups (p=0.002). When comparing females seeking a healthier lifestyle to high BMI binge eaters, females seeking a healthier lifestyle were more likely to answer "no", while high BMI binge eaters were more likely to answer "yes" (p=0.006). When comparing females seeking a healthier lifestyle to anorexics, females seeking a healthier lifestyle were more likely to answer "no" when compared to anorexics (p=0.033). When comparing high BMI binge eaters to high BMI non-binge eaters, high BMI binge eaters were also more likely to answer "yes" to this question when compared to high BMI non-binge eaters (p=0.048). Compared to 76.9% (N=10) of female anorexics, 74.4% (N=32) of female high BMI binge eaters, 50.0% (N=32) of female high BMI non-binge eaters, and 31.2 % (N=5) of females seeking a healthier lifestyle answered "yes" to perfectionism component one, which represented self-oriented perfectionism. Anorexics had the greatest tendency for perfectionism, followed by binge eaters, and then non-binge eaters. This study demonstrated that self-oriented perfectionism is the greatest indicator of perfectionism between subject groups and that perfectionism does exist in binge eaters.




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