Associations Between Body Checking and Disordered Eating Behaviors in Nonclinical Women

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Objective:Recent research suggests that body checking cognitions and behaviors are differentially associated with pathological eating behaviors in clinical women. However, it is unknown whether similar associations exist in nonclinical populations. The aim of this study is to examine whether body checking (cognitions and behaviors) is associated with pathological eating behaviors in a nonclinical sample of women.Method:Validated measures of pathological eating behaviors, body checking cognitions, and body checking behaviors were completed by 342 nonclinical university women.Results:Women engaging in binging (objective and subjective), purging, restraint, and excessive exercise reported consistently higher scores across all body checking cognitions and behaviors. All body checking cognitions and behaviors independently contributed to distinguishing those who reported each behavior as opposed to those who did not. The predicted classification was most accurate for the cardinal diagnostic symptoms for bulimia—objective binging and purging.Discussion:Body checking cognitions are implicated in the development of pathological eating behaviors in nonclinical populations, requiring consideration for planning prevention programs.

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