An Examination of Peer Teasing and Disordered Eating in Young Adults
Previous research has shown that individuals who are teased about their weight are likely to engage in problematic eating habits. This series of studies attempted to expand the literature by examining mediating variables that might account for this relationship, and to investigate whether experiential avoidance moderated the proposed mediation model. Within an undergraduate student sample of 213 participants, findings from the first study indicated that body dissatisfaction mediated the association between teasing and restrained eating habits. In contrast, self-esteem mediated between teasing and emotional eating. Moderation analyses indicated that this latter effect was stronger among those reporting lower experiential avoidance. In the second study, additional indices of emotional functioning were included to further elucidate the relation between peer teasing and disordered eating. Depression mediated between teasing and both forms of disordered eating, but experiential avoidance only moderated the mediational effect involving emotional eating. Limitations, implications and directions for future research are discussed.