Interpersonal styles and eating disorder risk factors in children: Examining the moderating role of anxiety
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This study examined the moderating role of anxiety and sub-factors of anxiety on the associations between interpersonal personality styles and specific eating disorder risk factors (body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, and bulimia) among girls in order to contribute to a better understanding of the development of eating disorders. Previous research has shown the utility of interpersonal styles and anxiety to inform eating disorder prevention and treatment. No previous studies have examined the role of anxiety or sub-factors of anxiety in the relation between general interpersonal styles and specific eating disorder risk factors in children. In this study, data were analyzed from 596 middle school girls in order to better understand how these variables are related. Measured used in this study included the Eating Disorder Inventory-3, the Child and Adolescent Interpersonal Survey, and the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children. Findings indicated girls who present with low Dominance and low Affiliation are more likely to exhibit higher body dissatisfaction risk, drive for thinness risk, and bulimia risk. Findings also demonstrated the moderating role of total anxiety and social anxiety on drive for thinness risk and bulimia risk among girls. That is, middle school girls who present with low Affiliation and also experience high levels of total anxiety or social anxiety are more likely to exhibit drive for thinness risk and bulimia risk. This study highlighted the importance of considering interpersonal personality styles, anxiety, and sub-factors of anxiety in order to contribute to the understanding of eating disorder risk.