Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The societal preference for a slender body image has caused an increasing number of adolescents to diet or use unusual methods of weight control. Some adolescents progress along the continuum of restrained eating toward the development of pathological eating disorders. In order to identify risk factors in the development of eating disorders, eating attitudes and behaviors of 454 normal adolescents were studied by using the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) and a personal background questionnaire. The higher the subscale scores on the EDI the more similar the individual's perceptions to those of victims with a pathological eating disorder.

With the exception of the Maturity Fears, Perfectionism, and Ineffectiveness subscales, scores were similar for females ages 14-19 in a rural, a semi-rural, and a private urban high school in the upper midwest. Scores were significantly higher than the established norms for the college women on Drive for Thinness, Body Dissatisfaction, Interoceptive Awareness, Ineffectiveness, and Maturity Fears.

There were no significant differences on the Eating Disorder Inventory subscale scores for respondents in this study from different ages, grades, social classes, different living situations, with different sexes of siblings, birth rank, amount of nutrition education, or education on ideal body weight. Specific EDI subscales were related to extracurricular activities, television habits, and current body weight. There was a significant relationship between the adolescents' current body weight and their drive for thinness as well as their body dissatisfaction as judged by the Eating Disorder Inventory. Respondents who had a mother that was employed had higher scores on all of the EDI subscales, and significantly higher scores on Drive for Thinness, Interoceptive Awareness, and Body Dissatisfaction. It would appear that females of employed mothers have eating behaviors or attitudes more characteristic of individuals with pathological eating disorders than females whose mothers are not employed.

Significant differences were found in the respondents' subscale scores and their perceived patterns of communication with their parents. Students who reported their parents as lecturing more frequently, and not taking their problems seriously, had higher scores on all of the EDI subscales. Students who perceived their parents as not being aware of their problems or who felt uncomfortable in communication with their parents had higher scores on most of the EDI subscales. It would appear that adolescents' interaction with their parents has a significant relationship to their eating perceptions and behaviors as assessed by the EDI.

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