Life history strategy and disordered eating behavior

Catherine Salmon, Aurelio José Figueredo, Lindsey Woodburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A sample of female undergraduates completed a packet of questionnaires consisting of the Arizona Life History Battery, a modified version of the Eating Disorders Inventory, the Behavioral Regulation scales from the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, and two measures of Female Intrasexual Competitiveness that distinguished between competition for mates and competition for status. As predicted, Executive Functions completely mediated the relation between Slow Life History Strategy and Disordered Eating Behavior. Surprisingly, however, the relation between Female Intrasexual Competitiveness (competition for mates and competition for status) and Disordered Eating Behavior was completely spurious, with executive functions serving as a common cause underlying the inhibition of both Disordered Eating Behavior and Female Intrasexual Competitiveness. The protective function of Slow Life History Strategy with respect to Disordered Eating Behavior apparently resides in a higher degree of Behavioral Regulation, a type of Executive Function. The enhanced Behavioral Regulation or self-control, of individuals with a Slow Life History Strategy is also protective against hazardously escalated levels of Female Intrasexual Competitiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-600
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Eating disorders
  • Executive functions
  • Female intrasexual competition
  • Life history strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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