Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Danae Hudson


Cognitive behavioral theory of eating disorders suggests that excessive body checking can serve to maintain body dissatisfaction and other eating disorder symptomology. Body checking is typically a quick, unconscious behavior that occurs multiple times throughout the day. Capturing data in a naturalistic setting, using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), could provide an accurate picture of the impact of body checking behaviors. Existing body checking research using EMA has primarily utilized eating disorder samples. However, research has shown that nonclinical women, particularly those with high body dissatisfaction, engage in frequent body checking behavior as well. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of body checking behavior on body image dissatisfaction and negative affect in non-clinical women with high body dissatisfaction. Undergraduate female participants (n = 22) with high body dissatisfaction were assessed randomly five times per day for five days via text messages sent to their smartphones. During each assessment, participants reported the number of times they engaged in eight different body checking behaviors and rated their current levels of negative affect and body dissatisfaction. Hierarchical Linear Modeling revealed that body checking significantly predicted both body dissatisfaction, b = -0.11, t(461.49) = -2.60, p = .01, and negative affect, b = 0.30, t(459.69) = 7.73, p < .001. These results provide some support for the cognitive behavioral theory of eating disorders, suggesting that as women engage in more frequent body checking behaviors, they experience higher levels of body dissatisfaction and negative affect.


eating disorders, body checking, body dissatisfaction, negative affect, ecological momentary assessment

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