We compared levels of eating disorder psychopathology, general psychological distress and impairment in role functioning among subgroups of women, recruited from a large, general population sample, who reported dissatisfaction with weight or shape but not over-evaluation of weight or shape (n = 482) or over-evaluation but not dissatisfaction (n = 105).
Self-report questionnaires that included measures of each outcome, as well as height and weight and socio-demographic information, were completed by all participants.
Participants who reported dissatisfaction but not over-evaluation were older, heavier and had higher levels of weight or shape concerns, higher levels of general psychological distress, and poorer physical health than those who reported over-evaluation but not dissatisfaction. However, only differences with respect to weight or shape concerns remained significant after age and BMI were statistically controlled. In multivariable analysis, dissatisfaction with weight or shape made a stronger contribution to variance in all three outcomes—eating disorder psychopathology, general psychological distress and functional impairment—than over-evaluation.
Although the findings are consistent with the view that over-evaluation and dissatisfaction are distinct constructs, there was no evidence to support the premise that overevaluation is more “pathological” than dissatisfaction among women in the general population. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010)