Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Fred H. Borgen


A 138-item questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of bulimia and bulimic symptoms as well as to identify personality variables associated with bulimia in a nonclinical sample of 2042 midwestern high school females. Students anonymously completed the Bulimia Test (BULIT), the Trait Anxiety Scale (TAS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), a General Self-efficacy subscale (GSES), a Specific Self-efficacy Scale (related to eating issues) (SSES), the Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale (GFFS), short-form version of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (M-C SDS), and eight demographic items. Based on the BULIT score, each student who participated in the study was assigned to one of three bulimia symptom groups: 6.3% fell in the high symptom group and were classified as bulimic, 9.3% fell in the moderate symptom group, and 84.4% fell in the low symptom group. Bulimia was equally prevalent in all of the high school grade levels and racial differences were not found. Substantial proportions of the entire sample reported episodes of binge eating (42.8%) and acknowledged the use of self-induced vomiting (17%), laxatives or suppositories (9.8%), and diuretics (10.5%). Most of the bulimic group were binge eating and using evacuation techniques (primarily self-induced vomiting) on a weekly basis or more and reported significant difficulties with depression, anxiety, fear of fat, and self-efficacy. Specific self-efficacy and fear of fat were most strongly correlated with the BULIT and these two, along with depression, emerged as the three most potent predictors of bulimia symptom group classification. Comparisons with previous research are offered and results are discussed in the context of mental health needs among high school female adolescents.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Nancy Ann Meeuwsen Bennett



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

165 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons