Adolescent Dating and Disordered Eating: Does the Quality of

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Adolescent Dating and Disordered Eating: Does the Quality of
Adolescent Dating and Disordered Eating: Does the Quality of Dating Relationships Play a Role?
Andrea E. Hamel, MA1, Shannon L. Zaitsoff, PhD1, Andrew Taylor, PhD2, Rosanne Menna, PhD3, & Daniel le Grange, PhD4
SFU
1Simon
Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada 2Teen Health Centre, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
of Windsor, Ontario, Canada 4Eating Disorders Program, University of Chicago
3University
RESULTS
INTRODUCTION
 Dating is associated with a number of negative outcomes for
teens including low academic achievement and depression
(e.g., Quatman et al., 2001). This is especially true for girls
(e.g., Natsuaki et al., 2009).
 Although many studies have revealed a link between teen
dating and depression, few studies have examined whether
teen dating is associated with eating disorder symptoms.
 Furthermore, few studies in this literature have used a clinical
sample or examined whether or not the quality of teens’
dating relationships plays a role.
PURPOSE
1. To compare the level of dating involvement across teens with
an eating disorder, depressive disorder, and control group.
2. To investigate whether eating disorder symptoms are
associated with greater dating involvement.
3. To investigate whether eating disorder symptoms are
associated with the quality of teens’ dating relationships.
METHOD
PARTICIPANTS (N = 75)
  Females aged 12 to 19 years (M = 15.35, SD = 1.75).
Eating Disorder
(n = 25)
17 (68%) = anorexia
8 (32%) = bulimia
Depressive Disorder Healthy Controls
(n = 25)
(n = 25)
20 (80%) = MDD
4 (16%) = Dysthymia
1 (4%) = Elevated
BDI (21)
MEASURES
  Eating Disorder Inventory (Garner, 1991)
  Bulimia
  Drive for thinness
  Body dissatisfaction
  Current Dating Involvement (Kuttler & La Greca, 2004)
  3 categories:
1 Not dating now
2 Currently dating one or more people casually
3  Currently involved in a serious dating relationship
  Network of Relationships Inventory—Revised (NRI; Furman &
Buhrmester, 1985)
  Survey measuring 8 positive qualities (e.g., affection) and 5
negative qualities (e.g., conflict) of relationships. Yields a composite
factor for positive qualities (“Positive Qualities”) and negative
qualities (“Negative Qualities”).
  Participants responded according to their current dating relationship
(if applicable).
Table 1. Level of Current Dating Involvement Across
Diagnostic Groups.
Current Dating
ED
DD
Control
Involvement
(n = 25)
(n = 25)
(n = 24)
Table 3. Partial Correlations, Controlling for Self-Esteem,
Between the NRI Positive Relationship Qualities and
Symptoms of Bulimia and Drive for Thinness Among Current
Daters (N = 34).
NRI Positive
Qualities
Bulimia
Drive for Thinness
Not dating
13 (52%)
11 (44%)
16 (67%)
Admiration
.15
.31
Dating Casually
6 (24%)
12 (48%)
4 (17%)
Affection
.20
.32
Dating Seriously
6 (24%)
2 (17%)
4 (17%)
Companionship
.33
.07
Instrumental Aid
.33
.18
Intimacy
.36*
.55***
Nurturance
.27
.21
- .08
.29
.32
.48*
Note. ED = Eating Disorder Group, DD = Depressive Disorder Group.
Note. χ2(4, n = 74) = 7.63, p = .11, VC = .23.
Figure 1. Mean Bulimia Scores Across Current Dating
Involvement Categories (Collapsing Across Diagnostic
Groups).
9
8
Support
7
b
6
5
2
Note. NRI = Network of Relationships Inventory—Revised.
Note. Analyses were conducted by collapsing across diagnostic groups, using only current daters.
* p ≤ .05, ** p ≤ .005, *** p ≤ .001
DISCUSSION
4
3
Reliable Alliance
a
a
1
0
Not Dating
Dating Casually
Dating Seriously
(n = 39)
(n = 22)
(n = 11)
Note. Results of an ANCOVA (controlling for self-esteem) on Bulimia scores: F(2, 65) = 10.17, p ≤
.001, ηp2 = .24. The homogeneity of variances assumption was violated, but an ANCOVA on squareroot-transformed Bulimia scores corrected this violation and yielded p ≤ .005.
Note. Error bars represent SEM. Means with different letters are significantly different (p ≤ .01).
Note. Results of ANCOVAs (controlling for self-esteem) on Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for
Thinness were ns.
Table 2. Partial Correlations, Controlling for Self-Esteem,
Between NRI Factors and Eating Disorder Symptoms
Among Current Daters (N = 34)
NRI Factors
Bulimia
Drive for
Body
Thinness Dissatisfaction
Positive Qualities
Negative Qualities
.32*
- .04
.38**
.20
.12
.03
Note. NRI = Network of Relationships Inventory—Revised.
Note. Analyses were performed by collapsing across diagnostic groups, using only current daters.
* p ≤ .10, ** p ≤ .05
  Levels of current dating involvement did not differ across
diagnostic groups (Table 1). However, collapsing across
diagnostic groups, symptoms of bulimia were associated with
current involvement in a serious dating relationship (Figure 1).
  Contrary to expectations, negative qualities of current dating
relationships were not associated with eating disorder
symptoms. However, greater positive qualities (i.e., intimacy and
support) were associated with increased symptoms of bulimia
and/or drive for thinness (Tables 2 and 3).
  These results suggest that qualities of dating relationships that
are generally considered positive (e.g., commitment, intimacy)
may actually be detrimental to the mental health of teens. Future
longitudinal research is needed to confirm this conclusion.
REFERENCES
Furman, W., & Buhrmester, D. (1985). Children’s perceptions of the personal relationships in their social networks. Developmental
Psychology, 21, 1016-1024.
Garner, D. (1991). Eating Disorder Inventory-2: Professional Manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Kuttler, A. F., & La Greca, A. M. (2004). Linkages among adolescent girls’ romantic relationships, best friendships, and peer networks.
Journal of Adolescence, 27, 395-414.
Natsuaki, M. N., Biehl, M. C., & Ge, X. (2009). Trajectories of depressed mood from early adolescence to young adulthood: The effects of
pubertal timing and adolescent dating. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 47-74.
Quatman, T., Sampson, K., Robinson, C., & Watson, C. M. (2001). Academic, motivational, and emotional correlates of adolescent dating.
Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 127, 211-234.
Poster presented at the Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, Vancouver, BC, March 2012

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