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How Building Self-esteem Can Improve Eating Disorders

The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale is one type of self-report questionnaire and interview-based measure that is used during assessment to determine how positive or negative the individual feels about herself. Cognitive procedures are employed to identify and challenge negative thoughts that contribute to low self-esteem and avoidance related to food, eating, weight and shape.

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Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are closely related to low self-esteem. For example, one belief often held by patients is that self worth is determined primarily by achieving a specific shape and weight. A study using the Young Schema Questionnaire (Young 1998) found that core (including negative self) beliefs were linked to the two key symptoms of BN, bingeing and vomiting (Waller et al. 2000). A link exists between scores on the Weight and Shape Based Self-Esteem Inventory (Geller et al. 1997) and eating disorder symptoms. Another study has found a strong correlation between self-esteem and body dissatisfaction in bulimia nervosa (Joiner et al. 1997). If an individual perceives herself as fat or overweight, this contributes to low self esteem, self-appraisals of ...

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It is crucial that a person with an eating disorder replaces negative self beliefs that typify low self esteem with positive self beliefs.