Document Type



Women who suffer from eating disorders have often been found to display common behavior and self-perceptions. Most noted are a preoccupation with thinness, low self-esteem, negative body image and perfectionism. Given the health risks of eating disorders, early identification would be beneficial. Among college students, peer awareness and identification of behavioral signs associated with eating disorders would be beneficial. This study was designed to evaluate the sensitivity of student to eating disordered traits and to examine factors related to sensitivity. College women (n = 228) were randomly presented with one of four scenarios, each depicting a student with different eating disordered traits. Analyses indicated that students recognized negative body image and low self-esteem as potential warning signs of eating related problems, but not perfectionism. Additionally, personal factors such as participants' distance from their ideal weights and frequency of exposure to media, dieting and knowing someone with an eating disorder affected sensitivity to behavioral cues.