The Development of Eating Disorder Symptoms in College Women

A Longitudinal Investigation of Ecological, Interpersonal, and Psychological Risk Factors


Hello, I am Professor Terry Chi and working with me are Miss Jenna Kitchenmaster and Allison Klabo. We are part of the Psychology Department at Northwestern College (NWC) and we would like to invite you to participate in our research study today on the factors that may influence college women’s emotional health while they are in college.

In order to take part in this study you must be at least 18 years old. This study has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Northwestern College. This document will outline the basic components of the study you are being invited to take part in and inform you of your rights as a research participant.

The purpose of this research is to investigate if personality, emotional wellbeing, feelings about one’s body, feelings about one’s life circumstances, and eating behaviors are interrelated over time. We are asking you to participate in this study because we believe that the information gathered from you today will help illuminate the nature of the connections among these variables, and may help college administrators better understand how to serve their students. Determining and clarifying the way in which these variables interact concurrently and over time could help psychologists form a better model for how eating behaviors may be influenced by personality, mood and self-perception.

The nature of your involvement in this study is to simply provide information. You will be asked to complete several questionnaires. The questionnaires will ask you for information about your own personality patterns, your emotional wellbeing, your perceptions of your body and your life, and eating habits. It should take you 60 minutes to answer all the questions. At all times you have the option to not participate. Even if you agree to participate now, you can stop at any time. There will be no negative consequences for you, academic or otherwise if you decide to stop participating in this study.

Potential Risks
There is a minimal potential risk involved in participation in this study. You will be asked personal questions that could elicit negative emotions. You can decide to not answer any questions you prefer not to answer. However, receiving honest answers is essential to the validity of this study and its conclusions. Nonetheless, it is still possible that these questions may bring up feelings / moods that may need to be discussed more with a professional counselor. If that happens to you, let us know and we will refer you to the Wellness Center staff on NWC campus.

Potential Benefits
This study has not been designed to directly benefit the participants. However, your participation has the potential to help researchers and clinicians in their quest to understand the nature of human mind and the maintenance of individual mental health. Your participation today could have an impact on the greater body of scientific knowledge. This is not a treatment study; you will not receive direct treatment as a part of this research.

All of the personal information collected from you today will be kept confidential. The forms you complete will be identified with unique research numbers that will in no way specifically identify you. The data you provide will be summarized without any personal information attached to them. Your name will not appear on any documents (except for this informed consent which will be separated from the other forms today). All of the questionnaires will be stored in locked cabinets in Professor Terry Chi’s office on NWC campus. Only the research staff will have access to the information and they have all gone through a standardized online research ethics training course offered by the National Institutes of Health. Individuals will not be identified in publication or reports and only group level summary statistics will be shown.

Any questions or concerns you have about this study can be directed to Professor Chi on campus:

Dr. Terry Chi
Department of Psychology
Northwestern College
101 – 7th Street SW
Orange City IA 51041
Office VPH 305C
Phone: 712-707-7329

While we do not anticipate any undue emotional distress as a direct result of this study. If you do feel emotional distress after your participation, we encourage you to contact the professional staff at the NWC Wellness Center. The Wellness Center is located in the Rowenhorst Student Center (RSC) and its contact information is listed below:

General Information: 712-707-7321
General Email:

I have read the above information and I voluntarily agree to participate in the current study. I know that I can stop my participation at any time, even after I have agreed to participate in the current study. However, I also understand that the gift card will only be forwarded to me after I have completed both the online and the in-person sessions of this study. By typing my name in the space provided, I certify my comprehension of the terms of this research study and my voluntary participation in the study.

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    Background Demographic Information

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    Is talkative
    Tends to find fault with others
    Does a thorough job
    Is depressed, blue
    Is original, comes up with new ideas
    Is reserved
    Is helpful and unselfish with others
    Can be somewhat careless
    Is relaxed, handles stress well
    Is curious about many different things
    Is full of energy
    Starts quarrels with others
    Is a reliable worker
    Can be tense
    Is ingenious, a deep thinker
    Generates a lot of enthusiasm
    Has a forgiving nature
    Tends to be disorganized 
    Worries a lot
    Has an active imagination
    Tends to be quiet
    Is generally trusting
    Tends to be lazy 
    Is emotionally stable, not easily upset
    Is inventive
    Has an assertive personality
    Can be cold and aloof
    Perseveres until the task is finished
    Can be moody
    Values artistic, aesthetic experiences
    Is sometimes shy, inhibited
    Is considerate and kind to almost everyone
    Does things efficiently
    Remains calm in tense situations
    Prefers work that is routine
    Is outgoing, sociable
    Is sometimes rude to others
    Makes plans an follows through with them
    Gets nervous easily
    Likes to reflect, play with ideas
    Has few artistic interests
    Likes to cooperate with others
    Is easily distracted
    Is sophisticated in art, music, or literature
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    I rarely think about how I look.
    I think it is more important that my clothes are comfortable than whether they look good on me.
    I think more about how my body feels than how my body looks.
    I rarely compare how I look with how other people look.
    During the day, I think about how I look many times.
    I often worry about whether the clothes I am wearing make me look good.
    I rarely worry about how I look to other people.
    I am more concerned with what my body can do than how it looks.
    When I can't control my weight, I feel like something must be wrong with me.  
    I feel ashamed of myself when I haven't made the effort to look my best.
    I feel like I must be a bad person when I don't look as good as I could.
    I would be ashamed for people to know what I really weigh.
    I never worry that something is wrong with me when I am not exercising as much as I should.
    When I'm not exercising enough, I question whether I am a good enough person.
    Even when I can't control my weight, I think I'm an okay person.
    When I'm not the size I think I should be, I feel ashamed.
    I think a person is pretty much stuck with the looks they are born with.
    A large part of being in shape is having that kind of body in the first place.
    I think a person can look pretty much how they want to if they are willing to work at it.
    I really don't think I have much control over how my body looks.
    I think a person's weight is mostly determined by the genes they are born with.
    It doesn't matter how hard I try to change my weight, its probably always going to be the same.
    I can weigh what I'm supposed to when I try hard enough.
    The shape you are in depends mostly on your genes.
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    By restricting what one eats, one can lose weight.
    When people gain weight, it is because of something they have done or not done.
    A thin body is largely a result of genetics.
    No matter how much effort one puts into dieting, one's weight tends to stay about the same.
    One's weight is, to a great extent, controlled by fate..
    There is so much fattening food around that losing weight is almost impossible.
    Most people can only diet successfully when other people push them to do it.
    Having a slim and fit body has very little to do with luck.
    People who are overweight lack the willpower necessary to control their weight.
    Each of us is directly responsible for our weight.
    Losing weight is simply a matter of wanting to do it and applying yourself.
    People who are more than a couple of pounds overweight need professional help to lose weight.
    By increasing the amount one exercises, one can lose weight.
    Most people are at their present weight because that is the weight level that is natural for them.
    Unsuccessful dieting is due to lack of effort.
    In order to lose weight people must get a lot of encouragement from others.
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    I plan tasks carefully.
    I do things without thinking.
    I make-up my mind quickly.
    I am happy-go-lucky.
    I don't "pay attention."
    I have "racing" thoughts.
    I plan trips well ahead of time.
    I am self controlled.
    I concentrate easily.
    I save regularly.
    I "squirm" at plays or lectures.
    I am a careful thinker.
    I plan for job security.
    I say things without thinking.
    I like to think about complex problems.
    I change jobs.
    I act "on impulse."
    I get easily bored when solving thought problems.
    I act on the spur of the moment.
    I am a steady thinker.
    I change residences.
    I buy things on impulse.
    I can only think about one thing at a time.
    I change hobbies.
    I spend or charge more than I earn.
    I often have extraneous thoughts when thinking.
    I am more interested in the present than the future.
    I am restless at the theater or lectures.
    I like puzzles. 
    I am future oriented.
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    I am terrified about being overweight.
    I avoid eating when I am hungry.
    I find myself preoccupied with food.
    I have gone on eating binges where I feel that I may not be able to stop.
    I cut my food into small pieces.
    I am aware of the calorie content of foods that I eat.
    I particularly avoid food with a high carbohydrate content (i.e. bread, rice, potatoes, etc.)
    I feel that others would prefer if I ate more.
    I vomit after I have eaten.
    I feel extremely guilty after eating.
    I am preoccupied with a desire to be thinner.
    I think about burning up calories when I exercise.
    Other people think that I am too thin.
    I am preoccupied with the thought of having fat on my body.
    I take longer than others to eat my meals.
    I avoid foods with sugar in them.
    I eat diet foods.
    I  feel that food controls my life.
    I display self-control around food.
    I feel that others pressure me to eat.
    I give too much time and thought to food.
    I feel uncomfortable after eating sweets.
    I engage in dieting behavior.
    I like my stomach to be empty.
    I enjoy trying new rich foods.
    I have the impulse to vomit after meals.
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    Adult Self Report

    Dear Student: You are almost completely done with your involvement in this study. There is one last questionnaire left for you. Because of copyright laws, this measure has to be completed in person. Please select time(s) that work with your schedule from the following list to come to fill out the ASR form. SOMEONE FROM OUR PROJECT WILL EMAIL YOU TO SET UP A SPECIFIC TIME AND PLACE TO MEET.
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