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  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Romantic attachment, social support, sexual approach style and sociocultural influences on eating disorder symptoms

  • 1Email author,
  • 1 and
  • 2
Journal of Eating Disorders20131 (Suppl 1) :O27

  • Published:


  • Environmental Factor
  • Social Support
  • Health Promotion
  • Disease Prevention
  • Eating Disorder

The purpose of this study was to examine the prediction of eating disorder symptoms within an integrated theoretically-driven model of romantic attachment, social support, sexual approach styles and the internalization of the media's portrayal of ideal body standards. A community sample of 671 women aged 19 to 88 years completed a series of self-report questionnaires. The findings supported a mediation model of romantic attachment being associated with eating disorder symptoms through interpersonal factors (perceived social support, game-playing and possessive sexual approach styles), and an environmental factor (the internalization of the media's depiction of ideal body standards). Romantic attachment anxiety predicted eating disorder symptoms directly; however, romantic attachment avoidance did not. Instead it predicted other factors. The findings enhance the understanding of the pathways influencing eating disorder symptoms and indicate that the attachment theory is a valuable framework to integrate the literature regarding sociocultural theory, sexual approach style, social support and eating disorders.

This abstract was presented in the Disordered Eating – Characteristics & Treatment stream of the 2013 ANZAED Conference.

Authors’ Affiliations

School of Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University, Australia
Centre for Adolescent Health, The Royal Children's Hospital, Australia