Analysis of Mediating effect of Depression on the Association Between Self-Esteem and Eating Attitude: A Study Among Female Students

Prashanth Talwar, Keshava Pai


Objective: Research indicates there is a link between self-esteem, depression and eating disorders. Studies point toward depression as the intervening variable in the relationship between self-esteem and eating disorders. The main objective of this study was to see whether low self-esteem has an impact on eating attitude through the mediator depression among female students.

Method: Convenience sampling technique was employed in this cross-sectional study wherein bilingual versions of Rosenberg’s Self Esteem Scale, Becks Depression Scale, and the Eating Attitude Test were administered to 217 female university students. Before conducting this study written informed consent was taken from the respondents. Participation was voluntary.  Statistical analyses were conducted using Path analysis. Sobel test was done to confirm the mediating effect.

Results: Simple mediation analysis depicted that the association between self-esteem and eating attitude was reduced from total effect (c; = -.513, p = .008), but remained significant after including depression into the model (c'; = -.409, p = .007), direct effect. This indicates partial mediation of the model. Therefore, it could be inferred that depression partially mediated the relationship between self-esteem and eating attitude.

Conclusion: The present findings are consistent with extant research literature, in proposing that depression increases the risk for eating disorders. These findings warrant further investigation into the clinical characteristics of eating disorders and therapeutic optimism.

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Self-esteem; Depression; Eating Attitude; Mediator

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