Spirituality among young women at risk for eating disorders

M. Joy Jacobs-Pilipski, Andrew Winzelberg, Denise E. Wilfley, Susan W. Bryson, C. Barr Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the spiritual and religious (S/R) beliefs and practices of college-age women at high-risk for eating disorders, and the relationship between body image distress, coping, and S/R. Method: Two hundred fifty-five college-age women with elevated weight and shape concerns, assessed using the Weight/Shape Concerns Scale and the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE), completed surveys about their S/R beliefs and practices. Results: Women with strong S/R beliefs and practices cope with body dissatisfaction differently than women without strong S/R beliefs. Participants with strong S/R were significantly more likely to pray, meditate, or read religious/spiritual texts to cope with body image distress. Participants without strong beliefs and practices were more likely to cope utilizing distraction. Women with strong beliefs who prayed found it effective. Discussion: Study participants were heteroge nenous in their S/R beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices may be underutilized resources for coping with body image concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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