Date of Award

5-1-1997

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

M.S.W.

First Advisor

Professor Hattie Mitchell

Abstract

The overall objective of this study was to provide additional information as to the nature of the problem of eating disorders among the lesbian population, and to identify the role in which sexual abuse plays in the development of an eating disorder. To attain this objective, the following areas on eating disorders and sexual abuse were addressed by the researcher: a) eating disorders among women, b) DSM-IV criteria for diagnosis of an eating disorder, c) the relationship between sexual abuse and eating disorders, and d) eating disorders and the lesbian population. A self-administered questionnaire, consisting of 20 questions from the Eating Disorder Inventory 11 and 19 questions regarding sexual abuse from three different scales, was given to women who were self-identified as lesbians, and who attended one of several support groups in the Atlanta Metropolitan area. This study was an attempt to examine the relationship between eating disorders and sexual abuse, and to provide additional information to the social work profession as to the magnitude of the problem among the lesbian population.

The results of the study showed a statistically significant correlation between eating disorders and sexual abuse among lesbians, using Pearson’s r with significance of p<.05.

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