Amy Heard Egbert
Training Track: Clinical
Lab: Activity Matters Lab
Advisor: Amy Bohnert, Ph.D.
Office: Coffey 228
My research focuses on the biological, social, and environmental factors contributing to the prevention and treatment of obesity and disordered eating.
Masters Thesis Title
The relation between appearance evaluation and disordered throughout college: Trajectories and moderators
Masters Thesis Abstract
The college years are a time of increased risk for body image concerns and disordered eating attitudes in both men and women. Studies have shown that body image concerns may emerge in childhood, increase throughout adolescence, and become more stable in middle adulthood, but less is known about the changes that happen during the college years that may cause these concerns to level off. One of the most common ways of assessing body image is by measuring appearance evaluation, or global satisfaction with appearance. While problematic appearance evaluation and disordered eating attitudes are often associated with one another, all individuals who are dissatisfied with their appearance do not go on to develop an eating disorder. This may be due to moderating factors such as mindfulness and emotion regulation, specifically expressive suppression of emotions. The current study draws on a longitudinal sample of first through fourth year college students assessed on measures of psychosocial functioning, including body image, disordered eating attitudes, mindfulness, and expressive suppression. This study found that while appearance evaluation was stable across the college years, disordered eating attitudes increased during that time period. Over the course of college, appearance evaluation significantly predicted disordered eating attitudes, and the inverse relation was also significant at a trend level. However, mindfulness and expressive suppression were not predictive of disordered eating attitudes. Likewise, they did not impact the relation between appearance evaluation and disordered eating attitudes. These results demonstrate the importance of designing disordered eating interventions that span the entire course of college and have implications for the current literature on the link between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and disordered eating attitudes.
Masters Thesis Committee
Amy Bohnert, PhD, and Colleen Conley, PhD
Dietary Intake Executive Function in youth and emerging adulthood: Environmental correlates and Developmental considerations
Obesity is a major public health concern impacting one in five young people in the U.S., and research suggests that consumption of high calorie, low nutrient foods may play a role in weight gain. Executive function (EF) has emerged as a factor that may play a role in dietary intake across youth development. Although biopsychosocial models of obesity emphasize the importance of identifying individual and environmental influences that may be associated with poor dietary intake, empirical research in this area is lacking. Therefore, the current set of studies seek to 1) systematically review the literature on the association between EF and dietary intake across youth, from a developmental perspective, 2) use an ecological systems approach to investigate mechanisms underlying EF and dietary intake during the summertime, and 3) evaluate food marketing as an environmental factor that may influence the relation between EF and dietary intake, especially for vulnerable populations, such as those with disordered eating. Overall, findings suggest that the relation between EF and dietary intake in youth is complex and is likely influenced by individual factors, highlighting the importance of identifying individuals who are more responsive to the food environment to help design more effective obesity intervention and prevention programs.
Amy Bohnert, PhD, Christine Li-Grining, PhD, Rebecca Silton, PhD, & Catherine Santiago, PhD