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The thin ideal and its relationship to depression and eating disorders: A cross-sectional study of 5th, 8th, and 12th graders

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


The "thin ideal" and its relationship to depression and eating disorders was investigated in a cross-sectional study of 599 students in the 5th, 8th, and 12th grades. Endorsement of the "thin ideal," socioeconomic status (SES), body image, depression, and eating disorders were measured to test McCarthy's (1990) model for eating disorders. An important variable in this model, SES, was unevenly distributed with an under-representation of high SES participants. Thus, the model was not fully tested. However, an important finding from this study was a "normative" body dissatisfaction and preoccupation with eating and weight concerns among the post-menarche, female participants. This suggests a pervasive condition that challenges the validity of McCarthy's model for eating disorders.



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