Childhood abuse and eating psychopathology: The mediating role of core beliefs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Loughborough University
  • Centre for Research into Eating Disorders


This study aimed to investigate the mediating role of early maladaptive schemas (core beliefs) in the relationship between childhood abuse and eating psychopathology. Three self-report questionnaires assessing experiences of childhood abuse, eating psychopathology, and levels of maladaptive schemas were administered to 118 female university students. Emotional abuse predicted drive for thinness, whereas sexual abuse predicted symptoms of bulimia nervosa (BN). Mistrust and abuse beliefs were found to fully mediate relationships between childhood abuse and drive for thinness and bulimia scales. Abandonment beliefs were also shown to be partial mediators of the relationship between sexual abuse and symptoms of BN. In a sample of nonclinical women, beliefs pertaining to abandonment and mistrust or abuse appeared to be important in the explanation of the relationship between recollections of childhood abuse and adult eating disorder symptoms.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-261
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aggression Maltreatment & Trauma
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • childhood abuse, core beliefs, eating disorder, meditational analysis