OBJECTIVE: Research has shown a clear relationship between perfectionism and other pathology including eating disorders, typically restrictive and purging disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. However, the relationship between perfectionism and loss of control eating disorder had not been explored. Similarly, we suspect there to be a relationship between perfectionism and self-discrepancy, and that shame might be a mediating variable in the relationship between these constructs and loss of control eating. This study investigated the relationship between these three variables to better understand how shame mediates or moderates the relationship between perfectionism, self-discrepancy, and loss of control eating. METHOD: In Phase 1 College students (N = 502) completed a screening survey including Frost's Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale to assess participants' levels of perfectionism, the Integrated Self Discrepancy Index to assess their self-discrepancy scores to assess their baseline perfectionism and actual:ought self-discrepancy levels. This survey also determined whether participants met the inclusion criteria for Phase 2 (N = 15), two loss of control eating episodes per week over the past two weeks, where they received a daily survey via text for 10 days assessing their level of shame and eating behaviors the previous day. At the end of the 10 days, a multi-level regression model was conducted to determine the relationship between perfectionism, self-discrepancy (actual:ought) and loss of control eating, and the role of shame in that relationship. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Results found shame to be a strong moderating factor for loss of control eating behaviors, holding perfectionism, and actual:ought self-discrepancy at their mean, but not when self-discrepancy and perfectionism were both higher or lower than the mean. When the discrepancy was high and perfectionism was at its mean, and when perfectionism was low and discrepancy was at its mean, shame was a robust predictor of loss of control eating. However, when perfectionism was high and discrepancy was at its mean, shame was not found to predict loss of control eating. When perfectionism was low and discrepancy was high, shame was found to be a very strong predictor of loss of control eating. Lastly, when perfectionism was high and discrepancy was low, shame was a moderate predictor of loss of control eating. This suggests that perfectionism may be a construct that may lead to more LOCE in individuals that already experience it, but it alone is not a risk factor. It may also suggest that while general maladaptive perfectionism is not a risk factor, more specific subsets could have a stronger relationship with LOCE. The results also show that actual:ought self-discrepancy is a more significant predictor of LOCE.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Dvorak, Robert


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date