Volume 1 Supplement 1

Proceedings of the 2013 Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) Conference. Inspiring Change: Person and Context

Open Access

Risk factors for eating disorders: investigating the relationships between global self-esteem, body-specific self-esteem and dietary restraint

  • Kavitha Dorairaj1Email author,
  • Kelly Thompson1,
  • Simon Wilksch2,
  • Tracey Wade2,
  • Susan Paxton3,
  • S Bryn Austin4, 5 and
  • Sue Byrne1
Journal of Eating Disorders20131(Suppl 1):O31


Published: 14 November 2013

Low Global Self-Esteem (GSE) is a well-established risk factor for eating disorders. Whilst GSE may be defined as an overall evaluation of oneself, evidence suggests that self-esteem is a multidimensional construct involving the evaluation of specific facets of oneself. It is proposed that a Specific Self-Esteem will have stronger associations with a relevant behaviour than GSE. One example of a Specific Self-Esteem, Body-Specific Self-Esteem (BSSE), involves evaluating oneself in terms of body shape. This study investigated relationships between GSE, BSSE and dietary restraint (DR). It was hypothesised that BSSE would be more closely related to DR than GSE, and that the relationship between GSE and DR would be mediated by BSSE. Male (N=139) and female (N=133) adolescents, participants in the Prevention Across the Spectrum randomized control trial, completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, gender-specific Body Dissatisfaction scales and the Restraint subscale of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire at baseline. Results show that, for both genders, BSSE was more closely related than GSE to DR. In fact, among girls, there was no significant relationship between GSE and DR. Among boys, BSSE fully mediated the relationship between GSE and DR. Findings suggest that eating disorder prevention programs should prioritise targeting BSSE over GSE.

This abstract was presented in the Prevention stream of the 2013 ANZAED Conference.

Authors’ Affiliations

School of Psychology, The University of Western Australia
School of Psychology, Flinders University
School of Psychological Science, LaTrobe University
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital


© Dorairaj et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.