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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

Comparing religiosity and disordered eating behaviors among women in Utah

Presenters: Jason Hoskin ; Julia Cole ; Anna Jorgensen
Authors: Nathaniel Call, Julia Cole, Anna Jorgensen, Jason Hoskin, Caitlin Kreutz, Shelby Seipert, Wendy Birmingham
Faculty Advisor: Wendy Birmingham
Institution: Brigham Young University

BACKGROUND: While healthy religious attitudes can help a person overcome disordered eating behaviors (DEB) (Boisvert & Harrell, 2012; Exline et al., 2015; Richards et al., 2018), harboring negative attitudes about God and holding religious guilt can exacerbate DEB (Exline et al., 2015; Richards et al., 1997). Most current research focuses on patients with diagnosed eating disorders; however, this study focuses specifically on individuals that exhibit DEB but do not have official diagnoses. This study sought to understand if religious forgiveness and religious/spiritual coping (RSC) are associated with DEB in women without an official diagnosis. METHODS: 62 women aged 21–46 (mean = 25.9) completed questionnaires using the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) and the Change in Eating Disorder Symptoms (CHEDS) scale. These instruments have high reliability and validity measures (Harris et al., 2007; Hwang & Spanger, 2016; Johnstone et al, 2020; Spangler, 2010). We calculated Forgiveness and RSC scores in the BMMRS and CHEDS total score. RESULTS: Two linear regressions were used to compare the relationship between DEB and forgiveness and DEB and RSC. A multiple regression analysis compared the relationships among forgiveness, RSC, and DEB, showing significant relationships (R=.396, p=.006, ƒ=5.499). The results indicated that low forgiveness was a significant predictor of DEB. However, there was no significant relationship between RSC and DEB (R=.170, p=.185, ƒ=1.795). In a posteriori analysis, we found low belief in God’s forgiveness to be a predictor of DEB (R=.304, p=.016, ƒ=6.120). CONCLUSION: This study implies that healthy forgiveness, including feeling forgiven from God, may help with DEB prevention, while RSC does not appear to have a significant effect on DEB. However, combined with forgiveness, RSC was significant, suggesting that forgiveness may aid in successful RSC and should be considered in medical interventions.