Measures of Body Image: Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Association With Disordered Eating

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Abstract

The current study aimed to examine the factor structure, reliability, and validity of 3 measures of body image disturbance (body image flexibility, body avoidance, and body checking) considered to be relevant to eating disorder psychopathology, with the aim of determining the optimal structure of each for use in treatment planning and outcome monitoring. Additionally, the study aimed to identify which factors had the strongest association with disordered eating. Participants were 328 female undergraduate university students aged 17–25 years. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted followed by correlational, regression, and t test analyses. The original proposed models were retained for the body image flexibility and body checking measures, while an alternative model was supported for the body image avoidance measure. All 3 solutions were found to have acceptable validity and reliability. Scores on each measure differed significantly between normal and disordered eaters. The body image flexibility measure and selected subscales of the body image avoidance and checking measures had unique associations with eating disorder psychopathology and psychosocial impairment. Results of this study indicate how the assessment of body image can be achieved in treatment of eating disorders in such a way as to reduce participant burden while adequately assessing the body image disturbance that is characteristic of eating disorders.

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