Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Subject Headings

Clinical Psychology


With the high prevalence of eating disorders (ED) and the functional impairment that they cause, there is a pressing need to more fully identify their risk factors and mechanisms. While perfectionism and negative affect are known risk factors for ED, the mechanisms by which they develop are not well understood. The present study examined the roles of self-handicapping, thought suppression, and maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, as potential mechanisms through which perfectionism and negative affect confer risk for ED. A sample of 161 female undergraduates completed measures of perfectionism, negative affect, thought suppression, self-handicapping, eating disorder tendencies, and an Implicit Association Test that measured negative attitudes towards high calorie foods. Results showed that self-handicapping, but not thought suppression, mediated the effects of perfectionism and negative affect on self-reported ED tendencies. Contrary to expectation, perfectionism predicted lower levels of self-handicapping. Overall, the results suggest that self-handicapping may be an important link in the pathway through which ED develop.