Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sociology

First Advisor

Charles D. Jantzi


The correlation between intrinsic versus extrinsic religiosity and body image disturbance and maladaptive eating patterns was studied. Participants included 103 undergraduate Messiah College women who were given three questionnaires to measure body image, eating patterns, and intrinsic versus extrinsic religiosity (the Body Image Avoidance Questionnaire, the Eating Attitudes Test-26, and the Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale respectively). Although the results obtained were not significant, the data did not support the hypothesized assertion that religiosity acts as a protective factor against disordered eating patterns and body image perceptions. However, a non-significant correlation was observed in the predicted direction between the relevant scales and a significant correlation was found between the Body Image Avoidance Questionnaire and the Eating Attitudes Test-26. Instead of suggesting that religiosity does not have an effect on the defining features of an eating disorder, the findings of the present study may highlight the fact that religion can both promote and protect against the onset of a variety of disorders ( a phenomenon known as the "dual-edged" nature of religion) .


Approved for Honors in the Department of Psychology, Messiah College, 2004.