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Living in a Comparative World: The Influence of Roommate Characteristics on Body Satisfaction and Eating Behaviors

By Talea Cornelius

Abstract

The current research examined social comparison processes as a moderator of college roommate’s weight, predicting body satisfaction and eating restraint. In two studies – an initial exploration and a replication study – independent samples of undergraduate students completed an online survey including questions about their roommate’s weight, their own weight and weight perceptions, appearance comparison tendencies, behavioral inhibition, self-esteem, body satisfaction, and eating restraint. It was predicted that thinner roommates would increase eating restraint and decrease body satisfaction, but only for individuals sensitive to appearance comparison information. Study 1 (conducted in the fall) provided support for these hypothesis. Study 2 (conducted in the spring) showed some support for the hypothesis, but largely failed to replicate the findings from Study 1. This may be due to differences in timing of the studies, or differences between the samples, including baseline levels of disordered eating and body satisfaction (as discovered in post hoc analysis). Implications of treating individual differences in comparison tendencies as a moderator of a comparison target rather than as a main effect are discussed

Topics: Body Satisfaction, Eating Disorders, Eating, College, Female, Appearance Comparison, Comparison, Social Comparison
Publisher: OpenCommons@UConn
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:opencommons.uconn.edu:gs_theses-1667
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