Insecure attachment styles and certain personality characteristics (i.e., high levels of neuroticism) have been associated with eating pathology. However, previous research has not examined these variables simultaneously and has not examined possible mediating relationships between attachment and personality characteristics for disordered eating. Because personality characteristics have emerged as some of the most robust predictors of disordered eating, it was predicted that the link between attachment and disordered eating might be through personality styles.
Participants included 85 female twins and triplets who took part in the Michigan State University Twin Study. Disordered eating, attachment style, and personality characteristics were assessed. Hierarchical linear models were used to examine relationships among the variables.
Overall, neuroticism, and extra version to a lesser extent, mediated the relationship between insecure-resistant attachment and disordered eating. Specifically, higher scores on the neuroticism scale predicted more disordered eating and explained the relationship between insecure-resistant attachment and disordered eating.
These results suggest that relationships between attachment style and disordered eating are indirect, in that neuroticism fully mediates associations between insecure-resistant attachment and disordered eating. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006