Depressive Symptoms and Social Functioning in Peer Relationships as Predictors of Eating Pathology in the Transition to Adulthood

Published In: Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, v. 29, no. 2, Feb. 2010, p. 202-227

Posted on on January 01, 2010

by Caitlin Ferriter, Nicole K. Eberhart, Constance L. Hammen

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The current study prospectively examined the independent and potentially interactive roles of social functioning in peer relationships and depressive symptoms in risk for eating pathology (EP). Social functioning in peer relationships was hypothesized to moderate the role of depressive symptoms in conferring risk for EP. This hypothesis was tested in a sample of 140 women, who were assessed over a five-year period during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. The study found that depressive symptoms interacted with romantic relationship quality and romantic attachment, such that women with higher levels of depressive symptoms were at increased risk for EP when they experienced reduced functioning in these romantic domains. The results highlight the importance of considering multiple risk factors in models of EP and suggest that romantic relationships may be particularly important for EP risk during the transition to adulthood.

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