Background: University years often are accompanied by dramatic lifestyle changes which may result in an elevated risk of disordered eating among females. We examine the associations of disordered eating with body image, weight and media-related variables.
Methods: Hungarian female university students (N = 261, mean age = 22.0 years; SD = 2.2 years) were the study participants using online data collection. The Eating Attitude Test-26 (EAT-26) was used to assess levels of and risk for disordered eating.
Results: Findings indicated 24.1 percent of disordered eating in this sample. Weight and body-related attitudes and behaviors were the strongest correlates. Students with family’s eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, those engaged in sporting and dieting tendencies, and being susceptible to media messages were particularly at risk. Dieting was associated with a higher score on the disordered eating scale among sporting students, internalization of thin and athletic body type from the media could play a role; BMI was a correlate only in oral control.
Conclusions: Our paper highlights the role of body dissatisfaction, sporting and slimming tendencies, sociocultural attitudes toward appearance, and family’s eating pathology in helping understand female university students’ disordered eating. There is a limited role that social media plays in part, due to their possible age-related experiences and skills on how to cope with this pressure.
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