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Drive for thinness as a women's strategy to avoid inferiority

Duarte, Cristiana ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6566-273X (2013) Drive for thinness as a women's strategy to avoid inferiority. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 13 (1). pp. 15-29.

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Abstract

The emphasis on the need to achieve and be successful, and the contextual competitive
dynamics in Western societies, may explain the increase of distinct forms of psychopathology.
This study examined sex differences relative to the expression and consequences of feeling
under pressure to compete to avoid a threatening social position. Also, we tested whether
insecure striving moderates the impact of a low social rank on drive for thinness, in
women. In this cross-sectional study self-report measures of insecure striving and secure
non-striving, social comparison, depression, anxiety and stress, and eating disorders
symptomatology were completed by a sample of 245 male and 429 female students. For
both men and women, the need to strive is associated with general psychopathological
symptoms (depression, anxiety and stress). Furthermore, insecure striving was a significant
moderator between a low social rank and the endorsement of the importance of thinness
and dieting behaviours in women. These findings support the hypothesis that drive for
thinness arises as a competitive weapon to assure a secure place in the social world.
Key words: striving, social rank mentality, eating disorders’ symptoms, thinness.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5727

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