Eating disorders threaten the physical and mental health of an alarming number of people today. Attachment theory has been identified as having important utility in many areas of psychological functioning and is commonly used as a way to conceptualize emotional, social, and interpersonal problems. Attachment theory, therefore, may have important implications in the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Recently, a line of research has demonstrated a link between attachment styles and eating disorders. Nearly all of the research in this area, however, is on women. The purpose of this study is to examine both female and male undergraduate students to improve our understanding of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating using attachment theory to identify possible gender differences. Our findings indicate that Bartholomew’s (1990) four attachment styles are related to disordered eating in men and women differently. For both genders we found that secure attachment was negatively correlated with disordered eating behaviors. However, for men we found that none of the three insecure attachment styles were related to disordered eating behaviors, whereas for women, fearful attachment was significantly associated with disordered eating behaviors.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mary_pritchard/9/