Self-presentational motives in eating disorders : a known groups difference approach
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Self-presentation reflects the processes by which individuals attempt to monitor and control the impressions others form of them (Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Concerns over impressions conveyed have been linked to numerous health behaviors (Crawford & Eklund, 1994; Martin, Leary, & O'Brien, 2001). The present study investigated the role of cognitive manifestations of dispositional and situational self presentational motivation (SPM) in 131 females with known groups differences on a measure of eating disorders. Participants were classified as in-treatment (IN = 39); at risk (AT = 46); and not at risk (NOT = 46) for eating disordered behaviour. Each participant completed The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (FNE; Leary, 1983), the Public Self-Consciousness Scale (PSC; Fenigstein, Sheier, & Buss, 1975), and the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPA; Hart, Leary, & Rejeski, 1989), as measures of dispositional SPM. Situational SPM was assessed through Self-Presentational Efficacy (SPE; Gammage, Hall, & Martin, 2004), and the Exercise Motivation Inventory-2 (Markland & Ingeldew, 1997). Significant differences emerged on the measure of eating disorder behaviour between AT and NOT. To determine if group differences existed on measures of trait SPM an ANOVA was conducted. Results indicated that the NOT group experienced less FNE, PSC and SPA than the IN and AT groups, and the AT group experienced less FNE and PSC than the IN group. Pearson bivariate correlations were conducted on measures of trait SPM and EMI-2 subscales theoretically linked to SPM. It was found that FNE, PSC and SPA were all positively correlated with weight management for the NOT group. To determine if group differences existed on selfpresentational exercise motives independent samples I-tests were conducted. Results revealed that the AT group was more motivated to exercise for weight management, and appearance, and social recognition than the NOT group. To determine if group differences existed on the state measure of self-presentational efficacy a series of ANOVA's were conducted. Results revealed that the NOT group experienced significantly greater self-presentational efficacy expectancy and self-presentational outcome value than the AT group. Finally, a discriminant function analysis was conducted to determine if trait SPM would predict group membership. Results revealed that 63.4% of participants were correctly classified, with SPA, PSC, and FNE differentiating the NOT group from the AT and IN groups and FNE and PSC differentiating the AT group from the IN group. Thus self-presentation motivation appears to have an influence on females who have an eating disorder and those at risk for an eating disorder. Potential applications of the influence of self-presentational motives on eating disorders and future research directions are discussed.