The aim of the present study was to evaluate in a non-clinical sample of undergraduate women, the relationships between alexithymia, body checking and body image, identifying predictive factors associated with the possible risk of developing an Eating Disorder (ED). The Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Body Checking Questionnaire (BCQ), Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), Interaction Anxiousness Scale (IAS), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were completed by 254 undergraduate females. We found that alexithymics had more consistent body checking behaviors and higher body dissatisfaction than nonalexithymics. In addition, alexithymics also reported a higher potential risk for ED (higher scores on EAT-26) when compared to nonalexithymics. Difficulty in identifying and describing feelings subscales of TAS-20, Overall appearance and Specific Body Parts subscales of BCQ as well as lower self-esteem was associated with higher ED risk in a linear regression analysis. Thus, a combination of alexithymia, low self-esteem, body checking behaviors and body dissatisfaction may be a risk factor for symptoms of ED at least in a non-clinical sample of university women. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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