Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Dawn Witherspoon

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Mann

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt


Self- esteem (SE) has been identified to have a significant impact on eating disorders (ED). Although previous studies have found a relationship between SE and EDs, further investigation in needed because SE and EDs affect gender, age, weight status, and ethnicity heterogeneously. In particular, there is limited research and inconsistent findings on the impact of SE on EDs in youth, males, and African Americans (AAs). This study had six aims: 1) Observe gender and age differences in SE, 2) Examine the impact of weight status on SE, 3) Observe gender and age effects on EDs, 4) Examine the impact of weight status on EDs, 5) Investigate the relationship between EDs and SE in youth, 6) Test mediation and moderation effects of weight, SE, and EDs. There were 215 male and female participants (Mage=13.3) recruited from low-income, predominantly AA urban communities. To assess SE the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale was used and the Children’s Eating Attitudes Test was used to assess eating disorder behaviors. Results from this study revealed that there were no gender and age differences in participants SE. Obese and overweight youth indicated the lowest levels of SE. There was a significant association between SE and EDs. Females had higher levels of EDs and higher rates of obesity than males. Underweight youth had the highest rates of eating pathology compared to other weight categories. Obese and overweight youth had the highest rates of bulimia, anorexia, and oral control related symptoms compared to underweight and normal weight youth. Overall, the relation between SE, weight status, and EDs in the current sample is not a linear relationship and further investigation is warranted.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 27, 2022