This study examined whether self-esteem is the primary predictor of disordered eating. A survey measured levels of self-esteem and a variety of other health behaviors in 196 male and 263 female undergraduate students. We conducted stepwise regressions to determine which of several variables (self-esteem, high stress, poor coping skills, maladaptive perfectionism, gender) best predicted disordered eating. The results indicated that self-esteem was the secondary predictor for bulimia, drive for thinness, and body dissatisfaction. Future research should further investigate how self-esteem interacts with other predictor variables to better determine the relationship between self-esteem and disordered eating.
Shea, Maureen E. and Pritchard, Mary. (2007). "Is Self-Esteem the Primary Predictor of Disordered Eating?". Personality and Individual Differences, 42(8), 1527-1537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.10.026