Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


A theoretical model of eating disorders called the shame and pride model has suggested that pride is a key psychological mechanism underpinning restrictive eating disorders and that it is also important in the maintenance of such conditions. Despite being included in this model, pride has been little investigated in the eating disorders field, especially when compared to shame, which has received extensive theoretical and empirical attention. Therefore, the overall aim of this PhD thesis was to investigate the role of pride related to eating disorders and its relation to motivation to change in clinical and non-clinical samples.Firstly, a systematic mixed studies review was conducted to examine the empirical evidence concerning pride and eating disorders. This review showed that this is an under-researched area (only 10 studies were identified). However, it provided initial evidence highlighting that low levels of pride in physical appearance precipitated the onset of eating disorder behaviours, such as food restriction, binge eating, and purging. It also suggested that over time, high levels of pride experienced through the ability to control food/calorie intake and weight loss, appeared to maintain eating disorders. Secondly, three empirical studies were conducted; a qualitative study, followed by two quantitative studies. The grounded theory qualitative study aimed to understand the meaning of pride in eating disorders from the perspective of women with anorexia nervosa. The second study aimed to develop and validate a measure to assess the component structure of pride in eating pathology. The third study investigated, over a period of 12 months: i. whether pride in eating pathology acted as a mediator between anorexia nervosa symptoms and the precontemplation stage of change (i.e. no motivation to change), and ii. whether pride in healthy weight and healthy eating interacted with anorexia nervosa symptoms to predict the action stage of change (i.e. actively engaging to change eating disorder behaviours). Both qualitative and exploratory component analysis indicated that pride in eating pathology is a multidimensional self-conscious emotion that is comprised of unhealthy and healthy aspects. In addition, findings from the qualitative study and the longitudinal mediational study demonstrated that pride in eating pathology evolves over time and predicted people's unwillingness to change eating disorder behaviours after a year. Finally, results from the longitudinal moderational analysis revealed that pride in healthy weight and healthy eating did not act as a moderator between anorexia symptoms and being in the action stage to change eating disorder behaviours at 12 months. However, the qualitative study revealed that pride related to healthy eating behaviours promotes recovery in a clinical sample.Results from this PhD thesis provide empirical evidence to further develop the shame and pride model postulated by Goss and Gilbert (2002) and highlight the role of pride as a precipitating and maintaining factor of eating disorder behaviours. In addition, it was found that pride in eating disorders influences motivation to change. Clinical implications of the findings from these empirical studies are discussed throughout the PhD thesis, along with directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
  • Gooding, Patricia, Supervisor
Award date1 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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