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Title: Associations Between Defence-Style, Eating Disorder Symptoms, and Quality of Life in Community Sample of Women: A Longitudinal Exploratory Study
Contributor(s): Aouad, Phillip (author); Hay, Phillipa (author); Foroughi, Nasim (author); Cosh, Suzanne M  (author)orcid ; Mannan, Haider (author)
Publication Date: 2021-07-01
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.671652
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Abstract: Background and Aim: Eating Disorders (EDs) impact an estimated 15% of the global population and are linked to maladaptive defence-styles (coping strategies) and poorer mental health outcomes. Defence-styles have been grouped into immature, neurotic, and mature behaviours. Studies have yet to examine all three defence-styles in ED symptomatic individuals over an extended period of time. The current study aimed to investigate using converse analysis the relationships between defence-style and ED outcomes over a 5-years period.
Methods: Participants (n = 216, mean age 33 years) were recruited through the Women's Eating and Health Literacy study, with the current study examining a 5-years period of two waves (year-4 and year-9). The current study tested associations over time between eating pathology (EDE-Q), psychological distress (K10), mental and physical health related quality of life (M/PHRQoL, SF-12), and defence-style (DSQ-40).
Results: Mature, immature and neurotic defence-styles did not significantly change over 5 years. Over the same period, only PHRQoL significantly predicted mature defence-styles having positive effect. Both MHRQoL and PHRQoL significantly predicted immature defence-styles having positive and negative effects, respectively. Psychological distress, PHRQoL and weight concern significantly predicted neurotic defence-styles having positive effects except for psychological distress. PHRQoL, MHRQoL, restraint and eating concern significantly predicted overall eating pathology having positive effects except for PHRQoL and MHRQoL. Conversely, among the defence-style variables, over 5 years, both immature and neurotic defence-styles significantly predicted psychological distress having positive effects, immature and mature defence-styles significantly predicted MHRQoL having negative and positive effects, respectively, while only immature defence-styles significantly predicted overall eating pathology having positive effect.
Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that immaturity and neuroticism but not maturity were the defence-style variables predicting psychological distress over a 5-years period while conversely psychological distress predicted only neurotic defence styles. The findings of the current study may suggest that without intervention, mature, immature and neurotic defence-styles may largely remain immutable to significant shifts over time. Limitations in the current study included limited demographic representation. The current study is anticipated to generate considerations into treatments that could strengthen defence-styles in individuals with increased eating pathology.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Frontiers in Psychology, v.12, p. 1-11
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of Publication: Switzerland
ISSN: 1664-1078
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520302 Clinical psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

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