Sociocultural pressure as a mediator of eating disorder symptoms in a non-clinical Australian sample

Linda Pedersen, Richard E. Hicks*, Sharon Rosenrauch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
235 Downloads (Pure)


Eating disorders continue to be a major cause of concern worldwide. The continuum model of eating disorders proposes (1) that there are sub-clinical behaviours or symptoms that differ only by being less frequent and/or severe when compared to those with clinically diagnosed eating disorders and (2) that these behaviours should be studied, including in non-clinical populations. In the present study, perceived social pressure to aspire to a thin ideal was tested as a potential mediator in the relationships between selected sociocultural factors and eating disorder symptomology in a non-clinical sample (comprised of 265 participants aged 18–40 years). Participants completed a series of self-report measures assessing levels of body dissatisfaction and several sociocultural factors (e.g. internalisation of a thin ideal-general and athlete, effects of media pressure and Media Information Influence). The role was also examined of sociocultural pressure as a mediator in the relationships between internalisation (using the media as a source of information regarding physical appearance) and eating disorder symptoms. The results showed that perceived sociocultural pressure was a significant mediator in the relationship between internalisation of the thin ideal (general and athletic) and eating disorder symptoms, and also between Media Information Influence and eating disorder symptoms. We concluded that sociocultural factors increase the risk of eating disorder symptoms occurring before diagnosis of an eating disorder is made, for those who are susceptible to societal pressures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1523347
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2018


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