Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Wilson McDermut

Second Advisor

Beverly Greene

Third Advisor

Melissa Peckins


Over the past decade there has been accumulating evidence that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and eating disorders frequently co-occur, but little is known about the possible mechanisms that might account for their co-occurrence. Likewise, relatively little research has examined the ways such comorbidities impact the maintenance of or recovery from eating disorder (ED) symptoms after treatment. In this cross-sectional study, we recruited 95 adult participants who had received an ED diagnosis and 24-hour treatment for an ED in the past 10 years, and obtained measures of ADHD symptoms and ED symptoms to explore their association and possible mediators thereof. In particular, we examined the possibility that the connection between ADHD symptoms and ED symptoms is mediated by internalizing symptoms (social phobia and depression). Although results did not show significant correlations between ADHD symptoms and ED symptoms or ED behaviors, there were significant relations established between ADHD and internalizing symptoms, as well as between internalizing symptoms and ED symptoms and behaviors. Thus, and in partial support of our hypothesis, we were able to test and confirm that symptoms of social phobia and of depression independently, and significantly, partially mediated the relations between ADHD symptoms and ED symptoms and behaviors. We also tested the hypotheses that personality dysfunction is a predictor of ED symptoms, with ADHD symptoms and irrational beliefs as mediators. However, results were unable to support these hypotheses. Exploratory analyses examining relations between past and current weight and weight change and symptomatology were also conducted. Implications for treatment and conceptualization of ED pathology are discussed.

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