Negative feedback about appearance is often cited as a major contributor to unhealthy eating behavior among women. The present study examined whether positive feedback about appearance may also be associated with disordered eating behavior, particularly among women who place a high value on physical appearance. One hundred and nine female undergraduates at Illinois Wesleyan University completed surveys regarding positive appearance-related feedback received, value placed on physical appearance, need for approval, and eating attitudes. Analyses revealed that amount of positive feedback on physical appearance and value placed on appearance were both significantly positively correlated with disordered eating behavior. Further, body mass index was found to be negatively correlated with positive feedback received; in other words, females with a lower body mass received greater positive feedback. Implications for the relationship between positive appearance-related feedback and disordered eating behavior are discussed. This is particularly important because it contradicts the traditional view that the feedback on appearance associated with disordered eating is negative.
Conley '04, Amanda R., "Positive Feedback on Appearance, Value Placed on Appearance, and Need for Disordered Eating Behavior among Undergraduate Females" (2004). Honors Projects. Paper 27.