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Study 1 examined whether the belief that "emaciation is beautiful" may contribute to anorexia nervosa (AN) symptom severity. Findings suggest that compared to non-eating disordered women, AN women are more likely to associate emaciation with both beauty and ugliness. Further, eating disorder symptoms, such as restraint, shape concern, and weight concern, significantly predicted the strength of the association between emaciation and beauty and emaciation and ugliness. Study 2 investigated whether the belief that "death is beautiful" is a cognitive risk factor for suicidality. I found that among participants who were fearless about death (i.e., had high levels of acquired capability), thinking about death was associated more with positivity than thinking about a control condition. As currently conceptualized, the acquired capability for suicide is a construct that is behaviorally based and can only increase or remain stable over time. However, the results of this study suggest there might be cognitive styles related to the acquired capability for suicide, which could have important treatment implications.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Thomas E. Joiner, Professor Directing Dissertation; Mark Winegardner, University Representative; Jon Maner, Committee Member; Pamela Keel, Committee Member; Ashby Plant, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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