Perfectionism, perceived weight status, and bulimic symptoms: Two studies testing a diathesis-stress model


Among a total of 890 women from 2 separate nonclinical samples (1 collected in 1982 on college undergraduates, n = 435, and 1 collected in 1992 on women who were in college in 1982, n = 455), the authors tested a diathesis-stress model of the interrelations of perfectionism, perceived weight status, and bulimic symptoms. The authors predicted and found that perfectionism served as a risk factor for bulimic symptoms for women who perceived themselves as overweight but did not serve as a risk factor for those who did not perceive themselves as overweight. Perceived weight activated perfectionism as a predictor of bulimic symptoms; actual weight did not serve the same role. These findings are discussed in the context of recent clinical and social psychological theory regarding development of bulimic symptoms.

Publication Title

Journal of Abnormal Psychology