The association between identity style, psychological well-being and factors associated with eating disorders in adolescent females
Francisco, Fernanda Da Pãz
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Worldwide. adolescents are at risk of dcvdoping eating disorders since they tire in a process of negot ia( ing important developmental tasks and are thus vulnerable to the internalisation of the thin ideal (Polivy 8: Herman, 2002). Body dissatisfaction, bulimia nnd drive for thinness haw been identified as the primary risk factors related to developing eating disorders (Garner, 2004). Despite the heightened vulnerability during adolescence and societal pressures to be thin. some adolescents are happy with their bodies and arc not body dismtisfied nor have a drive for thinness. Since adolesccnce is associated with negotiating an identity. Berzonsky's (1999) socialcognitive model of identity formation is instrumental in exploring the relationship betn~ccn identity style and factors associated with eating disorders. Furthermore. Berzonsky's (1999) informational identity style (11s) as well as the normative identity style (N IS) are positively correlated LO psychological well-being (PWB) whcreas the diffuse-avoidant identity style (DAIS) is negatively correlated to PWB. Consensus has not been reached with regard to this (Adams et al.. 2001), thus this investigation may provide impomn~ information with regard to the application of identity styles and iii Ryffs (1995) six dimensions of PWB in Suture preventive programmes. This study aimed to investigate thc relalionship between idcnrity styles. the primary eating disorder risk factors, psychological traits associated with eating disorders and the six dimensions of psychological well-being (PWB). Furthermore. it aimed to investigate wllcther the three groups of identity styles diflered significantly in terms of the primary eating disorder risk Faclors, psychological traits associaied with eating disorders and the six dimensions of PWB. Lastly. it aimed to investigate whether different age and race groups of adolescent girls differed significantly in identity style. primary eating disorder risk factors, psychological traits associated \vith eating disorders and PWB. A one-shot cross-sectional survey design was used in which an availability and multicultural sample of adolescent females(n=290) ranging from 13- to 17-year old in grades 9 to 11 attending an English high school in the Gauteng Province was used. They completed the Eating Disorder Inventory3 (EDI-3) (Gamer, 2004). Identity Style Inventory ( E l ) (Berzonsky, 1992). Scales of Psychological Well- Being (SPWB) (Ryff, 1989a). a self-designed biographical qucstiomaire and their b d y Mass Indcx (BMI) was recorded. Significant negative cor~lationsw erc fbund between the dimensions of PWB, eating disorder risk factors and associated psychological traits. Self-acceptance. enviro~unental mastery and positive relations appeared to be key dimensions negatively associated with the prinlary eating disorder risk factors and associated psychological traits. Identity styles did not direr significantly with regard to the primary eating disorder risk factors. however relationships were found between identity styles and some psycl~ologicat traits associated with eating disorders. These included the positive correlalion betwecn the IIS and perfectionism. the negative correlation betwecn the NIS versus personal alienation and interpersonal alienation and the positive correlation between [he DAIS and introceptive delicits. Comparisons between the rhret. identity styles and each of the six dimensions of PWB validarcd that femalc adolescents using an [IS and NIS experience greater levels of P%JB than compared lo their DAIS counterparts. Although age did not impact on the in~plementaliono f identity styles nor the primary eating disorder risk factors and associated psychcllogical traits. the 17-year-old age group experienced greater levels of PWB with regard to autonomy, environmental mastery and personal growth. Furt hcrmore, no significant di fferenccs were found with regard to race, identity styles. the primary eating disorder risk factors and PWB. Black female adolcscents experienced more interpersonal insecurity and maturity fears than the White female adolescents in this study. These findings encourage the development of a regression model identifying protective factors in future research as wcll as constructing an effective preventive programme against eating disorders in female adolescents.
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