IS HEALTH ANXIETY RELATED TO EATING DISORDER PATHOLOGY? THE ROLE OF METACOGNITION, INTOLERANCE OF UNCERTAINTY, AND BODY CHECKING BEHAVIOURS.
Hadjistavropoulos and Lawrence (2007) have found that individuals higher in health anxiety (HA) were more likely to report dieting, food preoccupation, and shape related body checking. Researchers have also found that individuals high in either HA or eating disorder pathology, report higher levels of metacognitions, intolerance of uncertainty (IU), and body checking behavior. The current study aimed to further examine the relationship between HA and eating disorder pathology, while exploring how metacognitions, IU, and body checking are related to these disorders. This online study had a non-clinical sample (N = 533) of undergraduate psychology students. The study included measures of HA, eating disorder pathology, metacognitions, IU, and body checking. Correlational analyses were conducted to see if HA and eating disorder measures were correlated, while also exploring if HA and eating disorder pathology were correlated with metacognitions, IU, and body checking measures. The analyses revealed that HA was significantly correlated with eating disorder pathology. HA and eating disorder pathology, separately, were also significantly correlated to measures of metacognitions, IU, and body checking. Regression analyses revealed that the unique predictors of HA were metacognitions related to uncontrollability and danger, and eating disorder-related body checking. Analyses also revealed that metacognitions related to the need to control thoughts, and eating disorder-related body checking, were unique predictors of eating disorder pathology. Areas for future research, and clinical implications will be discussed.
Faculty Mentor: Alexander Penney
Department: Psychology (Honours)