Female friendships and relations with disordered eating

Anna M. Bardone-Cone, Maggie Balk, Stacy L. Lin, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, Erica L. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Friendships are an important source of support for college women; however, aspects of close relationships can also have negative effects. The present study explored conversations that college women have with their closest female friends about dieting, bingeing, purging, working out, and comparing their bodies to peers, the media, and each other, and whether discussing these topics was related to disordered eating attitudes/behaviors. Participants were 441 female college students who completed a survey regarding whether they talked about the aforementioned topics in close female friendships. In this sample, 56% talked with their closest female friend about dieting, 14% about bingeing, 3% about purging, 89% about working out, and 22-39% about comparisons. Number of body- and disordered eating-related topics discussed was associated with greater eating pathology and weight/shape concern, with some specific conversation topics accounting for unique variance in disordered eating above and beyond number of topics discussed. Future work should further examine the nature and frequency of these conversations and how they may initiate, amplify, and maintain disordered eating, both on their own and in interaction with individual differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-805
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Body image
  • Close friendships
  • College women
  • Comparison
  • Disordered eating
  • Fat talk


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