Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2013, 2, 25-33
doi:10.4236/ojmp.2013.24B005 Published Online October 2013 (
Mindfulness as a Factor in the Relationship between
Insecure Attachment Style, Neur otic Personality and
Disordered Eating Behavior
Aileen Pidgeon, Alexandra Grainger
Faculty of Psychology, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Received June, 2013
Mindfulness, conceptualized as a dispositional trait that differs across individuals, may potentially influence disordered
eating behaviors. Previous research has independently identified insecure attachment style and neurotic personality
traits as correlates of disordered eating behavior. Thus this current study will investigate whether neurotic personality
traits, insecure attachment style and mindfulness predict disordered eating behavior controlling for gender differences.
Participants (N = 126) completed the Adult Attachment Scale [1], the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire – Revised 18
[2], The Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale – Revised [3] and the International Personality Item Pool [4]. The
results of this cross-sectional study indicated that neurotic personality traits, insecure attachment style and mindfulness
were related to disordered eating behaviors. The variance in disordered eating behaviors that was accounted for by neu-
rotic personality traits and insecure attachment style was significantly reduced with the introduction of mindfulness.
The results provides preliminary support for the inclusion of mindfulness training in disordered eating behavior inter-
ventions for individuals exhibiting an insecure attachment style and neurotic personality traits. Limitations and implica-
tions for further research are discussed.
Keywords: Mindfulness; Disordered Eating Behavior; Neuroticism; Attachment
1. Introduction
Achieving the ideal body shape for both males and
females receives a great deal of attention in magazine
articles, television and internet advertising campaigns.
As a result, there exists an increasingly larger disparity
between the average female and male body size and that
of the thin idealized form portrayed in the media. Potential
consequences of this discrepancy between actual and
desired weight and shape include body dissatisfaction,
negative affect, low self-esteem and disordered eating [5].
Therefore, it is important to identify potential psychological
factors that increase the risk for an individual to engage
in maladaptive behaviors to maintain their desired weight.
The emphasis in society and the media on appearance,
such as the thin body ideal coupled with a negative
perception of one’s physical appearance has been identified
as an important factor contributing to vulnerability to,
and maintenance of disordered eating behavior [6].
Disordered eating behaviors can be defined as three
dissimilar styles of eating behavior: restrained, uncontrolled
and emotional [7]. Restrained eating involves restriction
of food intake or dieting. Dieting has been found to play
a role in the development of eating disorders [8] and
promotes unhealthy cycles of weight loss and gain [9].
Restrained eating can be driven by appearance related
evaluative processes and cognitions, such as judgment of
the self in terms of shape and weight [10].
Emotional eating has been defined as eating in
response to negative emotions and has been identified as
an essential aspect of binge eating [11]. Emotional eating
can be perceived as an escape from experiencing nega-
tive emotions [12]. More recent research extends the
concept of disordered eating to encompass binge eating
associated with loss of control; purging or self-induced
vomiting and excessive exercise or laxative consumption
[13]. For the purpose of this paper, disordered eating will
include both restrained/controlled eating and the loss of
emotional control, resulting in emotional binge eating
Disordered eating behaviors tend to be associated with
female adolescents who are concerned with achieving the
thin-ideal body shape, typically considered desirable for
young females in Western countries [13]. The prevalence
of young women engaging in disordered eating behaviors
is increasing with the average age of onset decreasing.
Consequently, this places young women at an increased
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJMP
risk of developing psychological difficulties and clini-
cally diagnosed eating disorders [13].
Attachment theory can assist in understanding the de-
velopment of eating disorders. Insecure attachment is
linked to several factors characteristic of disordered eat-
ing including anxiety, self-esteem and emotional dys-
regulation [15]. Similarly, neurotic traits of insecure at-
tachment, characterized by anxiety and emotional insta-
bility also mirror characteristics of disordered eating
In recent years, Individuals are becoming increasingly
more vulnerable to developing disorderly eating habits
that are similar to eating behaviors of individuals diag-
nosed with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa [17].
These disordered eating behaviors range from obsession
with food and calorie counting, starving diets, compul-
sive binge eating, excessive laxative abuse and fasting
[17]. Given the recent increase in the prevalence of dis-
ordered eating behavior in society, research has focused
on identifying the psychological factors associated with
the risk of developing disordered eating behaviors.
Similarly, recent research has endeavored to establish
efficacy for mindfulness training as an effective inter-
vention to reduce emotional and physical discomfort [18].
Mindfulness is a skill that involves learning to pay atten-
tion to one’s moment to moment experiences to increase
an individual’s capacity to become aware of their imme-
diate experiences [19]. Mindfulness has recently been
introduced in the domain of psychology as a promising
intervention for a variety of psychological disorders or
mental health problems, including disordered eating be-
havior [20]. Today, only a small number of studies have
addressed the role of mindfulness as a protective factor
against the development of disordered eating behaviors.
Recent research suggests a higher level of mindfulness is
associated with lower levels of disordered eating-related
cognitions [21]. The present study extends this research
by investigating the relationship between mindfulness
and disordered eating behaviors among individual’s ex-
hibiting neurotic personality traits and/or an insecure
attachment style.
1.1. Disordered Eating Behavior
There is a notable difference between disordered eating
behavior and clinically defined eating disorders [17]. In
striving to attain a cultural mandate of thinness, indi-
viduals engage in the behaviors such as rigid exercise
routines, calorie restriction, chronic dieting, bingeing and
purging, and the use of laxatives and diuretics to control
their weight. However, these behaviors do not manifest
the full range of psychological traits usually associated
with clinical cases of an eating disorder, for example,
interpersonal distrust and perfectionism [17]. This sub-
clinical behavior has been labeled as ‘imitative anorexia’
or ‘weight preoccupation’, where the individual displays
some disordered eating behaviors, however, lack ‘classical’
eating disordered psychopathology [17]. The phenome-
non remains widely accepted by the wider community as
a means of dealing with weight and body image issues
and still remains largely untreated by clinical profession-
als despite its rise in prevalence [17].
Jones, Bennett, Olmsted, Lawson and Rodin [13] re-
search identified the need for more adequate treatment
programs for an increasing trend in disordered eating
behavior. They identified individuals who were vomiting
or taking diet pills were not being treated for these prob-
lems as current treatment program focus specifically on
clinically diagnosed eating disordered such as bulimia
nervosa (BN) and anorexia nervosa (AN). Given the
chronic and treatment resistant nature of eating disor-
dered individuals it was important that treatment pro-
grams be developed to prevent the development of dis-
ordered eating behaviors [13].
1.2. Models of Disordered Eating
The two predominant models associated with disordered
eating are the cognitive behavioral model [22] and the
emotional regulation model [23]. The cognitive behave-
ioral model of the development and maintenance of dis-
ordered eating behaviors, such and binging and purging,
postulates that these behaviors begin with distorted cog-
nitions pertaining to a thin physique and dieting, particu-
larly in individuals with low self-esteem and concerns
about their body image [20]. These individuals pay atten-
tion to social pressures to be thin and develop related
maladaptive cognitions and beliefs, leading to calorie
restriction and subsequent binge eating episodes. These
individuals, in turn, develop cognitions associated with
feelings of guilt, distress and lowered self-esteem. Indi-
viduals then overcompensate and engage in purging or
excessive use of laxatives, which is typically followed by
a renewed determination to restrict calorie intake.
Given this model highlights the detrimental nature of
acting on maladaptive cognitions; mindfulness has
emerged as a preventative skill as it fosters a willingness
to accept the present and is not primarily focused on
reaching a goal or ideal state [19]. Baer et al. [20] postu-
late that developing mindfulness skills will allow the
individual to distance themselves from cognitively dis-
torted thoughts pertaining to eating behavior and accept
that they will pass without acting upon them.
In addition to the cognitive behavioral model of disor-
dered eating behavior, the emotional regulation model
hypothesizes that disordered eating is the result of mal-
adaptive emotional regulation. For example, Sim and
Zeman, [25] identified girls who displayed a high level
of disordered eating behavior reported elevated levels of
negative affect and difficulties coping constructively
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with negative emotion. Disordered eating behavior and
experiential avoidance also demonstrates the efficacy of
the emotional regulation model [23]. Experiential avoid-
ance is classified as an unwillingness to experience nega-
tive feelings, sensations or thoughts and actively altering
or avoiding experiences in which they are likely to occur.
Research suggests that individuals display eating behave-
iors to alleviate emotional discomfort and engage in
binge eating to avoid or reduce emotional distress [23].
This in turn however increases negative emotions after
the consumption of food; therefore, eating is not an ef-
fective long term strategy to cope with emotions, rather a
short term experiential avoidance technique [20]. Mind-
fulness can enable individuals who engage in disordered
eating behavior to more fully experience their negative
emotions, allowing them to pass, rather than engaging in
disordered eating behaviors as a means of experiential
avoidance [26].
1.3. Neuroticism
When considering the factors contributing to disordered
eating behavior, personality more specifically, neurotic-
cism is a key variable [27]. Podar, Hannus and Allik [28]
identified various indicators of neuroticism such as in-
creased experiences of negative emotions and difficulties
implementing coping strategies to regulate emotions to
be the strongest predictor of disordered eating behaviors.
Claridge and Davis [29] argues that neuroticism acts
as an emotional amplifier by inflating pre-existing per-
sonality traits from adaptive, healthy, behaviors to un-
healthy behaviors. Individuals displaying more neurotic
personality traits have difficult in regulating distressing
emotions and are at increased risk of developing disor-
dered eating behavior as a means of avoiding strong dis-
turbing emotions [27].
Maclaren and Best [30] examined the individual tem-
peraments and personality traits that increase an individ-
ual’s vulnerability to develop disordered eating behaviors.
Consistent with previous research the results showed
participants who exhibited a high level of neurotic traits
such as anxiety, anger, hostility and self-consciousness,
reported significantly higher levels of disordered eating
behaviors compared to those participants with lower
levels of neurotic traits.
1.4. Insecure Attachment
Based on the responsiveness and attentiveness of the
adult caregiver, children develop from a young age, an
internal working model of themselves and others which
facilitates the development of either secure or insecure
developmental pathways [31]. Samuolis, Layburn and
Schiaffino [32] propose that those with a secure internal
working model or attachment are more resilient to psy-
chological problems and better equipped to deal with
stressful situations; whereas those with an insecure in-
ternal working model or attachment may be predisposed
to psychological distress and psychological problems.
Avoidant attached individual’s display a pervasive dis-
comfort with intimacy and closeness whereas anxious
individuals have a chronic fear of rejection and aban-
donment [31].
Individuals raised with an insecure attachment to their
caregivers tend to have greater difficulties regulating
emotions, and tend to utilize maladaptive coping strate-
gies such as disordered eating behaviors as a way to re-
gulate emotion [33]. Elgin and Pritchard’s [15] re- search
which investigated gender and attachment style as risk
factors for disordered eating behavior showed a strong rela-
tionship between insecure attachment styles and dis- or-
dered eating behaviors in females which is consistent
with previous findings. Given the relationship research
has unveiled between personality factors, insecure at-
tachment and disordered eating behaviors, the present
study examined the potential for mindfulness as a protec-
tive factor against the development of disordered eating
behavior in individuals who display neurotic traits and
insecure attachment styles.
1.5. Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are increased mental wellbe-
ing, lower depression, less emotional volatility, increased
self-acceptance and self-compassion [24, 37]. Mindful-
ness is a skill that increases the capacity to pay attention
to internal experiences in the present moment with a
non-judgmental attitude [34]. Furthermore, accumulate-
ing evidence suggests that mindfulness promotes will-
ingness to approach and experience emotions, and has
the potential to reduce avoidance based coping, such as
disordered eating behaviors e.g. emotional eating [35, 36,
38]. For example, Masuda and Wendell’s [21] study in-
dicated that mindfulness acts a partial mediator between
disordered eating cognitions and negative psychological
outcomes. These results suggest that mindfulness is an
important factor in the relationship between distorted
cognitions and negative psychological outcomes.
Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to
be effective in the treatment of disordered eating behave-
iors such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy [39],
which encourages individuals to employ a non-judge-
mental approach towards disordered eating cognitions
whilst drawing attention to their bodily sensations such
as hunger and satiety cues. It also teaches individuals to
be mindful when eating high calorie foods typically in-
cluded in binges and focus on the associated emotions
whilst eating as it is postulated that disordered eating
behavior could be a strategy to avoid negative emotions
and experiences [40,20]. Research has supported the ef-
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ficacy of MBCT, resulting in significant improvement in
symptoms of binging and ability to improve non-judge-
mental acceptance of an individual’s problems [20]. Fur-
ther, it was highlighted individuals have the ability to
improve their mindfulness skills as a result of mindful-
ness training.
The current study investigates the relationship between
disordered eating (cognitive restraint, emotional eating
and unrestrained eating), insecure attachment styles
(avoidant and anxious), personality characteristics (neu-
roticism) and mindfulness. The aim of the study was to
investigate the factors influencing or contributing to dis-
ordered eating behaviors. Building on the previous re-
search presented in this review, the present study pro-
poses: that disordered eating will be positively related
with insecure attachment styles and neurotic personality
traits.; that mindfulness will be significantly negatively
related with disordered eating behavior and that; mind-
fulness will reduce the variance in disordered eating be-
havior’s accounted for by neurotic personality traits and
insecure attachment styles.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
126 undergraduate psychology university students age
ranged from 18 to 60 years (N=24) were recruited for this
study. The sample consisted of 119 females (86.9%) and
18 male participants (13.1%); 3 participants (1.6%) did
not report their gender. Of the 137 participants 34 (24.8%)
stated they actively practiced meditation on a weekly
2.2. Materials
2.2.1. De mographi c Q ue stionnaire
A demographic questionnaire elicited information on
participant’s age, gender, and meditation practices.
2.2.2. The Adult Attachment Scale (AAS)
The scale was an 18 item inventory used to measure par-
ticipant’s style of attachment; secure, anxious and avoi-
dant. Scores were summed for each of the six questions
to give individual scores on each of the styles of attach-
ment with higher scores on one style indicating a domi-
nant style. The AAS maintains adequate psycho- metric
properties and appropriate internal consistency, with
Cronbach’s alpha ranging from α = .69-.85 [1].
2.2.3. The International Personality Item Pool (IPIP)
This scale was a 50 item scale used to measure partici-
pant’s personality including extraversion, Agreeableness,
conscientiousness, Openness and Neuroticism. Internal
consistency estimates (Cronbach’s alpha) for the five
subscales reportedly range from α =.79 - α =.87 [41]. The
IPIP possesses convergent validity as it is highly corre-
lated with the NEO-IP.
2.2.4. Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness
Scale – Revi sed
The scale was a 12 item measure of participants’ mind-
fulness skills including attention to and awareness of the
present moment. Participants’ final score is derived from
summing all total scores. Higher scores on the CAMS-R
reflect higher levels of mindfulness. The CAMS-R pos-
sess convergent validity with significant correlated with
other mindfulness scales such as the MAAS (r=.5,
p<.001) and other measures of emotional clarity, emo-
tional regulation, wellbeing and distress [42]. The scale
has demonstrated good internal consistency and concur-
rent and discriminate validity [43].
2.2.5. The Three Factor Eating Questionnaire-
Revised 18
This scale was an 18 item scale that measure partici-
pant’s current dietary practice and measures three differ-
ent aspects of eating behavior; restrained eating, uncon-
trolled eating and emotional eating. A total score is
achieved by summing subscale scores. Higher scores are
indicative of greater cognitive restraint, uncontrolled, or
emotional eating [14]. The internal consistency of the
factors as measured by Cronbach’s alpha ranged from
α= .79 for cognitive restraint, α = .82 for uncontrolled
eating, and α=.89 for emotional eating [44].
2.3. Analysis and Design
The data was analyzed using three hierarchical multiple
regression. In the first, the independent variables were
anxious attachment and mindfulness, with a dependent
variable of disordered eating behaviors. In the second,
the independent variable was avoidant attachment and
mindfulness, with a dependent variable of disordered
eating behaviors. In the third, the independent variables
were neurotic personality traits and mindfulness, with the
dependent variable of disordered eating behaviors. Minor
variables such as age, gender and meditation practice
were entered initially with the independent variables en-
tered according to correlation size [45].
3. Results
Data was cleaned and prepared prior to running the anal-
ysis. A correlation analysis was run between the major
variables. As these variables met assumptions of linearity,
Pearson’s correlations were used. Table 1 displays these
These correlations indicate that as mindfulness in-
creases, disordered eating behaviors decrease. Further,
those participants who reported high on mindfulness also
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJMP
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJMP
reported low scores on insecure attachment styles and
neurotic personality traits.
3.1. Analysis
In a regression analysis predicting mindfulness from an-
xious attachment style, anxious attachment accounted for
significant variance in disordered eating (adjusted
= .06, F= 7.49, p = .007). Anxious attachment accounted
for 5.7 % variance in mindfulness, R² change = .06,
Fchange (1, 124) = 7.49, p = .007, and the coefficient for
anxious attachment was significant, (β = -.24, p =.007).
Table 2 summarizes the result of the regression analy-
sis predicted disordered eating behavior from anxious
attachment, step 1 and mindfulness, step 2.
At step 1, Anxious attachment accounted for a signifi-
cant 3.2% of the variance in disordered eating behavior
= .03, Adjusted R² = .02, F = 4.07, p = .046. The coef-
ficient for disordered eating behavior was β = .18, p
= .046. Anxious attachment accounted for 3.2% variance
in disordered eating behavior, R²change = .03, Fchange
(1, 124) = 4.07, p = .046. Mindfulness was entered at
step 2 and accounted for a significant amount of variance
in disordered eating behavior, = .14, Adjusted R²= .13,
F=19.76, p = .000. The coefficient for mindfulness was
significant, (β= -.37, p = .000). Mindfulness accounted
for 13.7% of the variance in disordered eating, R²change
= .14, Fchange (1,124) = 19.76, p =.000. When mind-
fulness was entered at step 2, the coefficient for anxious
attachment decreased to β = .18, p =.046 to become a non
significant beta coefficient β= .09, p =.269.
In a regression analysis predicting mindfulness from
avoidant attachment style, avoidant attachment style ac-
counted for a significant variance in mindfulness,
= .28, Adjusted R² = .21, F= 34.36, p = .000. Avoidant
attachment accounted for 21.7 % variance in mindfulness,
R² change =.22, Fchange(1, 124) = 34.36, p = .000, and
the coefficient for avoidant attachment was significant,
(β = -.47, p =.000).
Table 3 summarizes the result of the regression analy-
sis predicted disordered eating behavior from avoidant
attachment, step 1 and mindfulness, step 2.
Table 1. Means, S.Deviations for all Variables.
1 2 3 4 5 M SD
1 41.58.64
* . 13.54.14
3.19* .29** 27.87.00
4-.37** .-24** -.47** 32.34.65
5.36** .45** .46** -.60** 24.65.98
*p < .05. **p < .01; Note. 1. Disordered Eating 2. Anxious Attachment 3.
Avoidant attachment 5. Mindfulness 6. Neuroticism.
Table 2. Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Disordered Eating Behaviour from Anxious Attachment and
Mindfulness with Standardised and Unstan dar dise d Coe fficients, R², Adjusted R² and 95% Confidence Intervals.
Predictor R2 Adj R2 β B SE B 95% CI for B
Step 1 .032 .02`
Constant 36.47 2.61 [31.2,41.63]
Anxious Attach-
ment .18* .37 .18 [.01,.73]
Step 2 .15 .13
Constant 59.7 6.23 [47.35,72.04]
Anxious Attach-
ment .09 .12 .18 [-.15,.55]
Mindfulness -.35*** -.64 .16 [-.96,-.33]
Note. N = 126. CI = confidence interval. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p< .001.
Table 3. Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Disordered Eating Behaviour from Avoidant Attachment and
Mindfulness with Standardised and Unstan dar dise d Coe fficients, R², Adjusted R² and 95% Confidence Intervals.
Predictor R2 Adjusted R2 β B SE B 95% CI for B
Step 1 .03 .03
Constant 35.07 3.12 [28.86, 41.26]
Avoidant Attachment .19* .23 .11 [.016, .447]
Step 2 .14 .03
Constant 62.60 7.78 [47.2, 78.09]
Avoidant Attachment .02 .02 .12 [-.21, .25]
Mindfulness -.36*** -.67 .17 [-1.02, -.32]
Note. N = 126. CI = confidence interval. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p< .001.
Avoidant attachment, entered at step 1, accounted for a
significant 3.5% of the variance in disordered eating be-
havior, R²change = .03, Fchange (1, 124) = 4.07, p
= .036. The coefficient for disordered eating behavior
was β = .19, p = .036.
Entered at step 2, mindfulness accounted for a signifi-
cant amount of variance disordered eating behavior,
R²change = .14, Fchange (1,124) = 19.76, p =.000. The
coefficient for mindfulness was significant, (β= -.37, p
= .000).
When mindfulness was entered at step 2, the coeffi-
cients for avoidant attachment decreased from, β = .19, p
= .036 to become a non-significant beta coefficient (β
= .02, p =.845).
In a regression analysis predicting mindfulness from
neurotic personality traits, neurotic personality traits ac-
count for a significant variance in mindfulness, = .36,
Adjusted R² = .36, F= 70.48, p = .000. The coefficient for
neurotic personality trait was also significant, (β = -.60, p
Table 4 summarizes the result of the regression analy-
sis predicted disordered eating behavior from neurotic
personality traits, step 1 and mindfulness, step 2.
Neurotic personality traits, entered at step 1, accounted
for a significant 12.7% in disordered eating behavior, R²
change = .13, Fchange (1, 124) = 18.07, p = .000. The
coefficient for neurotic personality trait was significant,
(β = -.60, p =.000). Entered at step 2, mindfulness ac-
counted for a significant amount of variance in disor-
dered eating behavior, R² change = .36, F change = (1,
124) = 70.48, p = .000, and the coefficient for mindful-
ness was significant, (β= -.37, p = .000). When mindful-
ness was entered at step 2, the coefficient for neurotic
personality trait decreased to, β= .21, p=.045.
4. Discussion
This study investigates whether neurotic personality
traits, insecure attachment style and mindfulness predicts
disordered eating behavior. The results indicate that par-
ticipants who reported high levels of mindfulness, few
neurotic personality traits, and secure attachment style
reported low levels of disordered eating behaviors. The
prediction that disordered eating would be associated
with insecure attachment styles and neurotic personality
traits was supported. This finding supports previous re-
search which suggests that individuals with neurotic or
insecure attachment traits, who display disordered eating
behaviors, do so in order to utilize a temporary coping
strategy such as restrained eating or binge eating to
regulate aversive emotions [27, 15]. The prediction that
mindfulness would be significantly associated with dis-
ordered eating behaviors was supported, indicating that
individuals reporting high levels of mindfulness also re-
ported low levels of disordered eating behavior.
The prediction that mindfulness practice would reduce
the amount of disordered eating behavior for individuals
displaying neurotic personality traits and insecure at-
tachment styles was supported. This finding is consistent
with previous research that suggests that mindfulness
reduces an individual’s tendency to engage in disordered
eating behaviors [36, 38].
The results of this current study indicate a general
trend that participants who reported high levels of mind-
fulness also report low levels of disordered eating be-
havior, therefore further analyses was conducted to es-
tablish the potential for mindfulness to act as a protective
factor for individuals with an insecure attachment style
against developing disordered eating behavior. Mindful-
ness has the potential to assist individuals who score high
on insecure attachment by increasing their capacity to be
with their aversive emotions or cognitions with a non-
judging attitude rather than engaging in maladaptive
coping strategies such as disordered eating [15,20,21].
The results of the present study also support previous
research that identifies a relationship between neurotic
personality traits and disordered eating behaviors [30].
Table 4. Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis Predicting Disordered Eating Behaviour from Neurotic Personality Traits
and Mindfulness with Standar dise d and Unstandardised Coefficients, R², Adjusted R² and 95% Confidence Intervals.
Predictor R2 Adjusted R2 β B SE B 95% CI for B
Step 1 .13 .12
Constant 28.78 3.08 [22.68, 34.87]
Neuroticism .36*** .51 .12 [.27, .75]
Step 2 .16 .15
Constant 48.73 8.93 [31.04, 66.41]
Neuroticism .21* .30 .15 [.007, .59]
Mindfulness -.24* -.45 .19 [-.83, -.075]
Note. N = 126. CI = confidence interval. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p< .001.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OJMP
Participants in the current study who possess neurotic
personality traits rated higher on disordered eating be-
haviors than did their counterparts who scored lower on
neurotic personality traits. These results support previous
research that has identified that neurotic personality traits
exacerbate the development of disordered eating behave-
iors as it is believed that these individual engage in mal-
adaptive coping strategies to avoid experiencing aversive
emotions or cognitions in an attempt to avoid or reduce
their negative experiences [28].
4.1. Limitations and Future Research
The limitations of this study warrant mention including
the limit of generalizing the findings to the general pop-
ulation as the sample consisted of predominantly of
Caucasian females, aged between 18-26 years of age,
from a university population. It is recommended that
future research should include a more representative
sample in terms of gender, age and education levels.
Moreover it would be beneficial to analyze these vari-
ables when controlling for gender differences as the
overrepresentation of females in the current study may
have artificially inflated the results. Given the current
literature on disordered eating focuses on the western
population, it would be notable to conduct similar re-
search on a more ethnically diverse sample of women.
4.2. Conclusions
To date the disordered eating literature has explored only
a limited number of factors that have the potential to act
as protective factors for women and men from develop-
ing clinically diagnosed eating disorders. The results
from the present study offers preliminary support for
mindfulness as a protective factor for women with inse-
cure attachment or neurotic personality traits from de-
veloping disordered eating behaviors.
These findings provide important implications for fu-
ture research as the results indicate that mindfulness has
the potential to act as a buffer between insecure attach-
ment styles, neurotic personality traits and disordered
eating behavior. These findings provide preliminary
support for mindfulness as a potential early intervention
strategy to reduce the tendencies to engage in disordered
eating behaviors in women with neurotic personality and
insecure attachment style.
5. Acknowledgements
Sincere appreciation is given to all participants, academ-
ics and relatives for their input and continued support.
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