Eating disorders are public health problems that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States. Research has shown that the etiology of eating disorders is multifaceted, and includes physical, socioemotional, and generic risk factors. One area that predicts eating disorder behaviors is religious orientation; however, the literature on the relationship between eating disorder symptomology and religious orientation has been mixed. Religious orientation is defined as reason for engaging in religious practice. People who have an intrinsic religious orientation live their religion instead of using their religion, and people with an extrinsic religious orientation use their religion to help them achieve their goals instead of living their religion. To help fill this deficit, this study looked at the relationship between religious orientation (extrinsic vs. intrinsic), age, and eating disorder symptomology. Participants for this study included 213 adult women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attending a large western university. This study found a positive correlation between bulimic symptomology and an extrinsic religious orientation. No correlation was shown for age or intrinsic religious orientation, and age did not mediate eating disorder symptomology. No correlation was shown for oral control or dieting among participants. These findings can be used to inform therapists of the relationship between bulimic symptomology and an extrinsic religious orientation, and may inform interventions chosen in treatment for individuals with bulimia nervosa, particularly among Latter-day Saint women.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





eating disorder symptomology, religious orientation, age