Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Marc A. Lindberg

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch

Third Advisor

Marty Amerikaner

Fourth Advisor

Stuart Thomas

Fifth Advisor

Pamela L. Mulder


The impact of family of origin dynamics on the development and maintenance of eating disorders is well documented in the literature. This study sought to investigate the attachment relationships and personality characteristics of eating disordered subjects by administering the Attachment and Personality Dynamics Questionnaire (APDQ). It was hypothesized that the eating disordered subjects would show a pattern of insecure attachments to primary caregivers and significant others in comparison to controls. A total of 23 eating disordered females and 297 female control subjects completed the APDQ. The t tests for the 29 scales of the APDQ revealed lower means for the eating disordered subjects on scales measuring secure attachment to mother, father, partner, and peers. A discriminant function analysis determined that the family suppression of feelings, shame, sexual intimacy, denial, and abuser scales best distinguished between the eating disordered subjects and the controls. Further, standard deviations across all scales were higher for the eating disordered group. Dominant attachment styles were computed for each subject, revealing that the majority of eating disordered subjects had avoidant attachment styles to mother, father, and partner, and the majority of control subjects had secure attachment styles to all three figures. Thus, the APDQ may prove to be a helpful device for clinicians who want to assess attachment and personality variables in this population.


Attachment behavior.

Eating disorders – Psychological aspects.