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BODY OBJECTIFICATION, SOCIAL PRESSURE, AND DISORDERED EATING BEHAVIOR IN COLLEGE WOMEN: THE ROLE OF SORORITY MEMBERSHIP

Authors


  • Susan A. Basow, Kelly A. Foran, and Jamila Bookwala, Department of Psychology, Lafayette College.

  • We would like to acknowledge the research assistance of Kathryn Longshore and Alexandra Minieri. Portions of this article were presented at the 2005 meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

  • Kelly A. Foran is now a doctoral candidate in the Psychology Department at LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Susan A. Basow, Department of Psychology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042. E-mail: basows@lafayette.edu

Abstract

Social pressure to conform to the thin ideal is believed to play a decisive role in the development of eating disorders. In this field study at a college with only sophomore rush, 99 sorority women, 80 nonsorority women past their first year, and 86 first-year women completed three subscales of the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (Garner, 1991), the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (McKinley & Hyde, 1996), and a measure of peer social pressure. It was hypothesized that women belonging to sororities as well as those who intended to join would score higher than nonsorority and first-year women with no intention to join on these measures of disordered eating, body objectification, and social pressure. It also was predicted that the amount of time spent living in a sorority house as well as degree of social pressure would correlate positively with higher scores on body objectification and disordered eating. Results supported nearly all hypotheses, suggesting both that sororities attract at-risk women and that living in a sorority house is associated with increased likelihood of disordered eating.

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