How specific are the relationships between eating disorder behaviors and perfectionism?

Jing Luo, Kelsie T. Forbush, J. Austin Williamson, Kristian E. Markon, Lauren O. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Perfectionism is associated with several mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The goal of this study was to test the specificity of the associations between perfectionism facets and eating disorder behaviors, by examining whether neuroticism and conscientiousness mediated or moderated associations between these variables. Participants from a representative community sample (N=407; 47% female) completed questionnaires assessing perfectionism, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and eating disorder behaviors. Neuroticism partially mediated associations between binge eating, restraint, body dissatisfaction, and maladaptive perfectionism facets. Neuroticism did not mediate associations between restriction and achievement striving perfectionism facets. Conscientiousness did not mediate any associations between perfectionism facets and eating disorder behaviors, yet Doubts about Actions interacted with conscientiousness to predict body dissatisfaction. Results indicate that neuroticism is key for understanding general risk factors that lead to myriad internalizing disorders, whereas maladaptive perfectionism has limited usefulness as a specific risk factor for eating disorder behaviors. Nevertheless, there is a unique association between dietary restraint and achievement striving dimensions of perfectionism that cannot be explained by higher-order personality traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-294
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by grants from the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED; Student Research Grant), American Psychological Association (APA; Dissertation Research Award), American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS; Scott Mesh Honorary Grant for Research in Psychology), and the American Psychological Foundation (APF/COGDOP; Graduate Research Scholarship) awarded to Kelsie Forbush (PI). The funding agencies had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.


  • Conscientiousness
  • Disordered eating
  • Eating disorders
  • Neuroticism
  • Perfectionism
  • Personality


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