Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Edward L. Trembley

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakas


This study sought to establish a baseline of eating attitudes and behaviors among a non-clinical population of adolescents. Three major questions were addressed: Does a spectrum of weight and diet concern exist among adolescent girls which ranges from dieting for cosmetic reasons to anorexia and bulimia? What is the relationship between attitudes and behaviors at a young age and eating disorders at a later age? What are some of the ways boys and girls differ regarding eating attitudes and behaviors? In addition to these major questions an attempt was made to quantify the incidence anorexia and bulimia.

The Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) (Garner, Olmstead and Polivy, 1983) and the Eating Behaviors Questionnaire (EBQ) were administered to 951 public school students in Grades 6 through 12.

One eleventh grade male scored in the anorexic range on the EDI. The incidence of bulimia as measured by the EBQ was not statistically significant although 5.4% of boys and 6.9% of girls reported vomiting to control weight.

The study found that scores on the EDI significantly increased in the pathological direction with age for girls but not for boys and that boys at all grade levels had significantly lower evidence of weight concern and that boys were more likely to see themselves as underweight than girls. Dieting was found to be rampant among girls with 50% or more of all girls at all grade levels having dieted at some time and 75% of senior girls having dieted. A significant negative correlation was found between age of first menstruation and EDI scores, age of first diet and EDI scores, as well as among age of first menstruation, age of first diet and EDI scores. Individual sub-scales of the EDI were examined for differences across age groups and Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, Body Dissatisfaction Interoceptive Awareness, and Perfectionism Scales were found to be significantly correlated with increasing grade levels but sub-scales Maturity Fears, Interpersonal Distrust and Ineffectiveness were not significantly correlated with grade level.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access