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Type: Thesis
Title: Understanding the association between Attachment, Interoceptive Awareness and Unhealthy Eating Behaviours
Author: Southern, Mikayla
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: Insecure attachment is known to be associated with many types of psychopathology, this includes eating pathology. Despite this, little is known about the underlying processes, neither cognitive nor emotional, that may assist in explaining why insecure attachment increases the risk of developing unhealthy eating behaviours. Studies have found that many people who show disordered eating behaviours, also report impairments in the ability to perceive and understand internal bodily cues, which is known as ‘interoceptive awareness’ (IA). There is also evidence to suggest that insecurely attached people may struggle to detect and discriminate interoceptive cues, therefore the aim of the present study was to determine whether IA mediated the relationship between insecure attachment and problematic eating behaviour. Participants (N=216) completed an online survey that included measures of adult attachment style, interoceptive awareness, eating restraint and emotional eating, along with basic demographic information . Regression analyses were conducted using PROCESS, to determine whether there is an indirect effect of IA on the relationship between attachment insecurity and eating behaviour. No mediation effect was found with the overall scale of IA. The ‘trusting’ subscale of IA was found to mediate the effect of insecure attachment on eating restraint (p<0.05). The findings from this study contribute to the development of a deeper understanding of the importance of interoceptive awareness and attachment for unhealthy eating behaviours and eating pathology, specifically the impact of one’s ability to trust interoceptive cues on the relationship between insecure attachment and eating restraint.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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