First Advisor

Marilyn Welsh

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Document Type


Date Created



Current research has established a connection between childhood maltreatment and eating disorders, and some studies have looked at emotional intelligence or social support as mediators. However, little research has looked at how emotional intelligence and social support work together in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and eating disorders. This study looked at how emotional intelligence and social support act as mediators in this relationship. Undergraduate students (N=134) were administered the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-90), Wong-Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS), Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Perceived Social Support Scale (PSSS), and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Correlations between scales were analyzed to determine associations, which were used for sequential mediation analysis. Disordered eating behaviors were positively correlated with childhood maltreatment. Maltreatment was not correlated with the emotional intelligence scale; however, it was positively correlated to emotion regulation difficulty, which further correlated positively with disordered eating and negatively with social support. Social support is negatively correlated with disordered eating. Mediation analysis showed that childhood maltreatment predicts disordered eating, and that emotion regulation acts as a mediator between them. Social support does not act as a mediator between any other variables, nor does it predict or is predicted by the other variables, indicating that there is not a sequential mediation pathway for all four variables. These results highlight the importance of emotion regulation difficulties in the development of disordered eating patterns in those with childhood maltreatment history, indicating a greater emphasis needed on emotion regulation abilities in the treatment of eating disorders.

Abstract Format



Developmental Psychology | Psychology | Quantitative Psychology


childhood maltreatment, emotional intelligence, emotion regulation, social support, disordered eating


65 pages

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.