International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 14 Num. 3 - October 2014


Self-criticism, perfectionism and eating disorders: The effect of depression and body dissatisfaction

Volume 14 Num. 3 - October 2014 - Pages 409-420


Cláudia Ferreira, , José Pinto-Gouveia , Cristiana Duarte


This study aimed at examining a model for eating disorders features’ severity that included the association between self-criticism and perfectionistic self-presentation, mediated by depressive symptoms and body image dissatisfaction. A path analysis testing for a mediational model was conducted in a sample of 191 participants, including 94 women from the general population and 97 female patients diagnosed with eating disorders. All participants answered a semi-structured interview (EDE 16.0D) and a set of self-report instruments assessing the study variables. The study findings indicated that the path model explained 43% of body image dissatisfaction variance, and 52% of depressive symptoms variance, and accounted for a total of 64% of the variance of eating disorders’ symptoms severity. Results showed that perfectionistic self-presentation and self-criticism were moderately associated. Body image dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms fully mediated the relationship between perfectionistic self-presentation and eating psychopathology severity. Self-criticism, in turn, predicted eating disorders symptoms’ severity partially through the mediators’ effect. These results clarify the role of perfectionistic self-presentation and self-criticism, as well as the paths through which they operate in eating psychopathology. These mechanisms should be taken into full consideration in the conceptualization and clinical practice with patients with eating disorders.

Key words:

eating disorders, body image, depression, self-criticism, perfectionistic self-presentation

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