Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Neill Watson

Committee Member

Ellen F. Rosen

Committee Member

Barbara Cubic

Committee Member

Laura G. Roberto

Committee Member

Michael P. Nichols


A modified version of Kelly's Repertory Test was administered to 15 women identified as eating-restrained, 21 women identified as non-eating-restrained and matched on neuroticism, and 15 women identified as non-eating restrained and low on neuroticism in order to elicit personal constructs related to being overweight, average weight, and underweight. The personal constructs were used in measures of components of self-concept: real self, ideal self, social self, and ideal social self. It was hypothesized that in comparison to the other two groups, the eating-restrained women would exhibit a distinct pattern among the components of self-concept: Real and ideal selves would be more disparate; real and social selves would be less disparate; ideal and ideal social selves would be less disparate. Subsequent to gathering the data, a fourth hypothesis predicting that social and ideal social self would be more disparate for eating-restrained women was added to the study. Profiles on the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 indicated that most of the women identified as eating-restrained were qualitatively distinct from anorexic women: consequently this group was renamed the non-weight-preoccupied eating-rest rained group. In analyses that compared the non-weight-preoccupied group with matched neurotic and low neurotic groups, no differences were found on the disparity measures. When a smaller group of women, who more closely resembled an anorexic population was identified (the weight-preoccupied eating-restrained group), results provided weak support for two of the hypotheses: Real self and ideal self, and social self and ideal social self were more disparate for the eating-restrained group. Results from exploratory analyses indicated that all three groups of women endorsed normal weight characteristics more strongly on the four components of self-concept.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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