Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Clinical Psychology

Colleges & School

College Of Arts And Sciences

First Advisor

Anupama Harvey, PhD

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Eating disorders; Attachment behavior; Parent and child; Spirituality


This study’s purpose was to examine links between women in insecurely attached families and their endorsement of eating disorder behaviors, as compared to women in securely attached families. This study also examined whether a strong attachment to God or an individuals’ ethnicity served as protective factors from eating disordered behavior among individuals identified as belonging to insecurely attached families. One hundred ten women volunteered to take an online survey via the website Qualtrics. Attachment was assessed using the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-RS) scale (Fraley, Heffernan, & Vicary, 2011). Individuals’ risk for developing an eating disorder was assessed using the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26; Garner, Olmsted, Bohr, & Garfinkel, 1982). Ethnicity was assessed using a demographic survey, and participants’ attachment to God was assessed by using the Attachment to God Inventory (Beck & Macdonald, 2004). It was hypothesized that female participants with an insecure parental attachment would endorse more eating disorder symptoms than females with secure parental attachment. Ethnicity and a strong attachment to God were expected to act as protective factors against eating disorder symptomology in individuals in insecurely attached families. Results showed there was no significant relationship between parental attachment and endorsement of eating disorder symptoms. However, results indicated that one’s attachment to God, when analyzed in conjunction with parental attachment, is a better predictor of eating disorder symptoms than when analyzing parental attachment alone. Results also revealed that the only difference between minorities and non-minorities in terms of the study variables was their attachment to God, with minorities having a less avoidant insecure relationship with God as compared to non-minorities.


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