Research findings suggest that the relationship between appearance orientation, appearance worries, and dieting create a vicious cycle of enhancing risk for eating disorders.
Zarychta, Mullan, Kruk, and Luszcynska (2017) investigated the relationship between three variables that are associated with the transdiagnostic model of EDs in a non-clinical population: appearance orientation, appearance worries, and dieting. There was the initial assessment, a 2-month follow-up, and a 13-month follow-up to assess the short- and long-term relationships.
A Vicious Cycle Among Cognitions and Behaviors Enhancing Risk for Eating Disorders
The authors found reciprocal relationships between their three variables of interest, such that each of the three variables would affect a second which would then affect the third, creating a vicious cycle. The results of this study supported the researchers’ hypothesis, which was that each of the variables would be a starting point for the vicious cycle. The results show that these three variables are interrelated.
Overall, these results suggest that the cognitive factors of appearance orientation, appearance worries, and restrictive dieting should continue to be included in treatment and prevention programs of ED. In addition, these interventions should target adolescents who are at risk for dieting restrictively, who are highly appearance orientated or highly worried about their appearance.