Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Social anxiety and eating disorders are highly comorbid. Researchers have suggested that there may be shared vulnerabilities that underlie the development of these disorders. Two of these proposed vulnerabilities are fear of negative evaluation and social appearance anxiety (i.e., fear of negative evaluation specifically focused on one’s appearance). Regarding disordered eating, previous self-report research has found that social appearance anxiety may be especially relevant for body dissatisfaction, whereas fear of negative evaluation may be relevant for drive for thinness. In the current study I manipulated fear of negative evaluation and social appearance anxiety using a speech task in 160 undergraduate females. Results indicated that participants in the fear of negative evaluation condition increased food consumption, whereas participants high in trait social appearance anxiety and in the social appearance anxiety condition experienced the highest amounts of state body dissatisfaction. Participants in both conditions experienced elevated state social anxiety. Additionally, I found that restraint interacted with fear of negative evaluation to produce eating. These results are discussed within an emotion regulation framework. Overall, these results support the idea that fear of negative evaluation and social appearance anxiety are shared vulnerabilities for eating and social anxiety disorders, but that the way these variables interact with the environment and with other individual differences may lead to disorder specific behaviors. Clinicians may want to consider incorporating exposures that evoke evaluation fears into treatments for individuals with disordered eating.
Chair and Committee
Thomas L Rodebaugh
Thomas Oltmanns, Deanna Barch, Alexis Duncan, Denise Wilfley, Eric Lenze,
Levinson, Cheri A., "Manipulation of Negative Social Evaluative Fears on Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Behaviors: Does Fear of Social Evaluation Lead to Disordered Eating?" (2015). Arts & Sciences Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 569.