Attitudes toward love and intimacy in women with eating disorder characteristics
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Eating disorder literature has supported the idea that women with eating disorder characteristics have difficulty in intimate relationships. Literature has also noted that an eating disorder may be complicated by a concurrent affective disorder, substance abuse problem, or weight problem. Within the context of an intimate relationship, such a combination is likely to threaten the quality of interpersonal attitudes and behavior. The current study explored theories proposing relationship difficulties in women with eating disorder characteristics, in a sample of 208 young women. Results indicated that eating disorder characteristics were most consistently positively related to a possessive, dependent, and game-playing approach to love, and most consistently negatively related to a passionate or companionate approach to love. Also, eating disorder characteristics were found to be positively correlated with open, casual, and instrumental attitudes toward sexuality. Negative correlations were found between eating disorder characteristics and sexual self-esteem. Eating disorder characteristics were also found to be highly correlated with depression. Many of the relationships between eating disorder characteristics and interpersonal variables were reduced when the effects of depression were controlled. Other interesting findings included positive correlations between eating disorder characteristics and reported degree of substance use, and between eating disorder characteristics and problematic weight history. Also, negative correlations were found between eating disorder characteristics and sexual selfesteem.