The perfectionism model of binge eating : idiographic and nomothetic tests of an integrative model
Sherry, Simon B.
Perfectionism is implicated in the onset, course, and remission of disordered eating (Bastiani, Rao, Weltzin, & Kaye, 1995; Bruch, 1979; Cockell et al., 2002; Stice, 2002; Tozzi, et al., 2005; Vohs, Bardone, Joiner, & Abramson, 1999; references are contained in Appendix F on p. 271). Building on the above research tradition, this dissertation proposed and evaluated a model relating perfectionism to binge eating. This new model is termed the Perfectionism Model of Binge Eating (PMOBE). According to the PMOBE, perfectionism confers vulnerability to binge eating by generating encounters with and by magnifying responses to specific triggers of binge eating: namely, perceived discrepancies, low self-esteem, depressive affect, and dietary restraint. A multi-site, 7-day, web-based structured daily diary study was conducted to test the PMOBE. Overall, 566 female university students participated, and these individuals provided 3509 useable diary responses. A data analytic strategy involving structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling generally supported the PMOBE. For example, a structural model relating socially prescribed perfectionism (i.e., perceiving that others are demanding perfection of oneself) to binge eating through the aforementioned binge eating triggers demonstrated acceptable fit. Multilevel mediation also indicated that the influence of self-oriented perfectionism (i.e., demanding perfection of oneself) and socially prescribed perfectionism on binge eating operated through the abovementioned binge eating triggers (excepting dietary restraint). Support for multilevel moderation was limited, but suggested that the relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and binge eating was conditional upon dietary restraint. This study is, to my knowledge, the first to examine the perfectionism-disordered eating connection using a structured daily diary methodology. Thus, this study offered a unique perspective apart from the usual cross-sectional and nomothetic research on perfectionism and eating pathology. In particular, this study suggested that, in their day-to-day lives, perfectionistic individuals (especially socially prescribed perfectionists) inhabit a world permeated with putative triggers of binge eating. Although perfectionism appeared to generate “exposure to” binge eating triggers, by and large, it did not seem to magnify responses to these same triggers (Bolger & Zuckerman, 1995, p. 890). A somewhat qualified version of the PMOBE was thus supported, with socially prescribed perfectionism assuming greater importance than self-oriented perfectionism and with perfectionism conferring vulnerability to binge eating by generating environments with, but not magnifying responses to, binge triggers. Overall, this dissertation contributed new knowledge to our understanding of the precipitants and the correlates of binge eating and highlighted the idea that perfectionism may play an important part in binge eating.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorHall, Peter A.
Committeevon Baeyer, Carl; Morrison, Melanie A.; McMullen, Linda; Kowalski, Kent
Copyright DateMay 2006