Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Paul Frewen


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders (ED) are frequently comorbid psychological conditions in persons who have experienced traumatic life events. This thesis investigates a gendered analysis of the co-occurrence of symptoms of ED, PTSD, and dissociation using Perceived Causal Relations (PCR) scaling in a convenience sample recruited online (n = 523) as well as in persons seeking inpatient treatment for ED (n = 12). Within the internet community sample, re-experiencing, avoidance and dissociative experiences were found to mediate the relationship between trauma history and ED symptoms in men and women. Although dissociation was a consistent mediator in this relationship, it was not perceived as a significantly greater cause of ED-related behaviours than vice versa on PCR. Within the clinical sample, ED-related behaviours were often perceived as effects of trauma-related, anxiety and mood symptoms. The implications of these results for understanding the comorbidity of ED and trauma-related symptoms are discussed.