Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


To date, most research in the area of college women and eating disorders has only been conducted to determine the prevalence of eating disorders among selected college subgroups. Although such research is limited, particularly for those women that choose to join social sororities, it generally indicates that sorority women represent a subgroup with high instances of eating disorders and often presents a conflicting view of these women's eating patterns and beliefs regarding weight loss and food. The present study was designed to continue the investigation of sorority women and their eating patterns by conducting a longitudinal study, consisting of five assessments over the course of one academic year, to assess whether the sorority women who are engaging in maladaptive eating behaviors and thought processes had these problems before joining a sorority or developed them later on as a member of the sorority. Specifically, this study was designed to answer the following research questions: First, do sorority women and nonsorority women differ in regards to weight, self-objectification, eating beliefs, or eating disorder symptoms at the start of or throughout the study? Additionally, do these initial reported weights, self-objectification scores, eating beliefs, or eating disorder symptoms vary over time for either group? Finally, is sorority membership a factor in any of these changes? Participants completed self-report measures of weight, eating beliefs (EBQ), eating disorder symptoms (EDDS), and self-objectification (TSOQ). The effects of time were analyzed for sorority members and non-sorority members using a 2 (sorority membership: sorority vs. non-sorority) x 5 (time: August vs. September vs. November vs. February vs. April) repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach for the all of the dependent variables. Additionally, the interactions of sorority membership were analyzed. Results indicated there were no significant differences for self-objectification or the eating beliefs subscales of stereotypes, superstitions, or science. However, significant findings were shown for weight, the salves eating belief subscale, and reported eating disorder symptoms across time. Results are discussed in regards to the overall lack of significant differences between the two groups.


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Social Psychology