Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Perfectionism and eating disorder symptoms in female university students: The central role of perfectionistic self-presentation

Stoeber, Joachim, Madigan, Daniel J., Damian, Lavinia E., Esposito, Rita Maria, Lombardo, Caterina (2017) Perfectionism and eating disorder symptoms in female university students: The central role of perfectionistic self-presentation. Eating and Weight Disorders, 22 (4). pp. 641-648. ISSN 1124-4909. E-ISSN 1590-1262. (doi:10.1007/s40519-016-0297-1) (KAR id:55938)


Purpose: Numerous studies have found perfectionism to show positive relations with eating disorder symptoms, but so far no study has examined whether perfectionistic self-presentation can explain these relations or whether the relations are the same for different eating disorder symptom groups. Methods: A sample of 393 female university students completed self-report measures of perfectionism (self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism), perfectionistic self-presentation (perfectionistic self-promotion, nondisplay of imperfection, nondisclosure of imperfection), and three eating disorder symptom groups (dieting, bulimia, oral control). In addition, students reported their weight and height so their body mass index (BMI) could be computed. Results: Results of multiple regression analyses controlling for BMI indicated that socially prescribed perfectionism positively predicted all three symptom groups, whereas self-oriented perfectionism positively predicted dieting only. Moreover, perfectionistic self-presentation explained the positive relations that perfectionism showed with dieting and oral control, but not with bulimia. Further analyses indicated that all three aspects of perfectionistic self-presentation positively predicted dieting, whereas only nondisclosure of imperfection positively predicted bulimia and oral control. Overall, perfectionistic self-presentation explained 10.4-23.5% of variance in eating disorder symptoms, whereas perfectionism explained 7.9-12.1%. Conclusions:

The findings suggest that perfectionistic self-presentation explains why perfectionistic women show higher levels of eating disorder symptoms, particularly dieting. Thus perfectionistic self-presentation appears to play a central role in the relations of perfectionism and disordered eating and may warrant closer attention in theory, research, and treatment of eating and weight disorders.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s40519-016-0297-1
Uncontrolled keywords: perfectionism; perfectionistic self-presentation; dieting; bulimia; oral control; body mass index
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Joachim Stoeber
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2016 14:33 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.