Social psychological theories of disordered eating in college women: Review and integration

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Because peer interaction, weight/shape, and self-concept formation are particularly salient to college women, the implications of social psychological theories may be especially far-reaching during the college years. College women may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of social comparison, objectification, and uses and gratifications theories, which describe social-cognitive mechanisms that provide an individual with information regarding her own view of her body and how she perceives that others perceive her body. The current paper will review and integrate findings related to these three theories of disordered eating in college women in an effort to present a more comprehensive understanding of the social psychological mechanisms that play a role in the development and maintenance of such pathology for this group of young women. Limitations of and future directions for research on these theories will be discussed, as will their potential integration with other factors that contribute to disordered eating and implications for treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1237
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


  • College women
  • Disordered eating
  • Objectification
  • Social comparison
  • Social psychology
  • Uses and gratifications


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