The relationship between individuation and depression and the development of features of eating disorders in a non-clinical female adolescent population
Researchers and clinicians alike have offered many perspectives on the etiology of eating disorders, including but not limited to, biological, sociocultural, and structural family models. Many psychoanalytic theorists have additionally proposed a developmental viewpoint. However, the majority of the psychoanalytic literature illustrates a theoretical link between the construct of separation-individuation and the development of eating disorders in adolescent populations. Thus, the current study aimed to offer an empirically bound developmental explanation for the vulnerability of adolescent females to eating disorders. This research investigated the relationship between individuation and the development of features of eating disorders in a non-clinical female adolescent population. Subjects were 205 ninth through twelfth graders from a Westchester school district. The participants were drawn from a larger 6-year longitudinal study of adolescent development and depression conducted at Pace University. For this study, the data collected in 1992 was used. The students were administered the Profile of Adolescent Depression and Individuation (PADI), measuring reactions to the adolescent individuation process, and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), measuring eating disorder symptomatology. Generally it was hypothesized that female adolescents experiencing difficulty in their progress toward individuation would be more likely to develop features of eating disorder symptomatology. Self-destructive, lonely, and less individuated adolescents would be more disposed to eating disturbances, while those who were making significant progress toward individuation would be relatively protected from eating disordered symptoms. An analysis of the subscales of the PADI and the subscales of the EDI found that 35 out of the 41 correlations' hypothesized between the two measures were significant, indicating an empirical relationship between separation-individuation and eating disorder constructs. Upon further evaluation, it was determined that the set of PADI subscales were statistically significant predictors of the EDI subscales, also supporting an empirically based relationship. These results were discussed in terms of limitations and implications for school/clinical psychology. Suggestions for future research were also provided.
Kleeger, Eve, "The relationship between individuation and depression and the development of features of eating disorders in a non-clinical female adolescent population" (2002). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3061344.
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