Examining the relationship between eating disorders and personality traits
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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This study aimed to investigate the relationship between eating disorders and personality in female university students participating in gymnastics and athletics (runners) (N=25). All of the participants were non-clinical samples. Participants were approached during training sessions at the National Indoor Athletic Centre (NIAC). Participants completed the NEO-FFI (Costa and McCrae, 1985) and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner and Garfinkel, 1982). The NEO-FFI is a useful instrument to use as it measures five different personality traits, also the EAT-26 measures 3 subscales of anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Correlation and multiple regression analysis were carried out for each of the EAT-26 subscales these included, Bulimia and Food Pre-occupation, Dieting and Oral Control and the personality traits. It was found that conscientiousness made the largest unique contribution to the EAT-26 subscale of dieting. The results indicate that only conscientiousness plays a role in determining an eating disorder no other personality trait was found to have an effect. Further results that are discussed are that of other research and how this compares and contrasts with the present study and any practical implications that come from the research. Future research should give consideration to clinical and non-clinical samples and comparing the results of these two, also the difference between lean and non-lean sports and non-sporting samples.
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