The relationship between ego development, externalizing behaviors, and features of eating disorders in a non-clinical female adolescent population

Tracy Beth Johnson, Pace University

Abstract

The relationship between ego developmental level, eating disorders, and externalizing behaviors was investigated in a group of 87 female adolescents, ages 14–19 years, sampled from a public suburban high school. Level of ego development was measured by Loevinger's Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WU-SCT), eating disorder symptomatology was measured using the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), and Achenbach's Youth Self-Report (YSR) was used for identifying externalizing behaviors. ^ The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between eating disorder symptomatology, externalizing behaviors, and ego development in a population of non-clinical adolescent females. Analysis of the EDI, WU-SCT, and the YSR externalizing subtests confirmed 5 out of the 6 hypothesized correlations between the measures were significant. In answer to proposed exploratory questions, significant correlations were found between the Pre-Conformist level of ego development as measured by the WU-SCT and the Bulimia subscale of the EDI, as well as the combined Pre-Conformist and Conformist group and the Drive for Thinness subscale of the EDI. Overall, 6 of the 8 subscales of the EDI were significantly correlated to an externalizing subscale of the YSR and additional analyses revealed that 7 of the 8 EDI subscales are significantly correlated with at least one of the ego categories of the WU-SCT. These findings are indicative of an empirical relationship between eating disorder symptomatology, externalizing behaviors, and ego development in non-clinical female adolescents. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Tracy Beth Johnson, "The relationship between ego development, externalizing behaviors, and features of eating disorders in a non-clinical female adolescent population" (January 1, 2003). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3109271.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3109271

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