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Perfectionism is a robust risk factor for eating disorders (EDs). Although individually-oriented dimensions of perfectionism are strongly related to eating pathology, less is known about the contribution of parent-oriented dimensions, specifically parental expectations (PE) and parental criticisms (PC). Further, few studies have investigated these effects within racially/ethnically diverse samples. However, PE and PC might be particularly relevant to eating pathology among certain cultural groups, such as those from collectivistic and interdependent societies. This study examined associations among PE, PC, and ED symptoms across racial/ethnic groups. Undergraduates (N=706; 74.8% Female; 48% White, 19.8% Black, 7.1% Latinx, 16% Asian, 9.1% multiracial) completed online surveys assessing perfectionism and ED symptoms. Multiple and logistic regressions examined the association between parent-oriented perfectionism, global eating pathology, loss-of-control (LOC) eating, purging behaviors, and ED risk status (EDE-Q global < 4.0). Analyses were conducted by racial/ethnic group, controlling for gender. Both PE and PC were related to greater ED pathology in students identifying as White (pp=.03), Asian (p=.02), and multiracial (pp=.19). Higher PC was related to a greater likelihood of endorsing LOC eating in White (p=.004) and Black students (p=.05) and purging behaviors in White (p=.004), Asian (p=.04), and multiracial students (p=.03). Greater PC was also associated with ED risk in Asian (p=.03) and multiracial participants (p=.01). Findings indicate that the relations between specific aspects of parent-oriented perfectionism differ among cultural groups and are associated with ED symptoms in college students. PC seemed more relevant to ED pathology than did PE overall. Findings suggest that parent-oriented perfectionism, particularly PC, might be important to include in clinical assessment and treatment with students at-risk of EDs.

Publication Date



college students, disordered eating, perfectionism, race/ethnicity


Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Multicultural Psychology

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Suzanne E. Mazzeo, PhD

Is Part Of

VCU Graduate Research Posters

An Exploration of Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Association between Perfectionism and Disordered Eating in College Students