Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Patrick J. Aragon

Second Advisor

Demara B. Bennett

Third Advisor

Catherine Nicholson

Fourth Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2020c) estimated that approximately 3.7 million children experience childhood sexual abuse (CSA) every year in the United States. CSA is a significant issue associated with negative psychosocial and health-related outcomes, including eating disorders (Afifi et al., 2017). While there has been substantial research completed regarding CSA and eating disorders, there is a significant gap in the literature regarding Orthorexia Nervosa (ON) and CSA. The present study sought to determine whether CSA is a risk factor ON and determine the relationship between frequency of occurrence of CSA, sex, race, previous eating disorder diagnosis, and other significant stressors, particularly COVID-19 and ON. Participants were 535 individuals who completed an online questionnaire that assessed these variables. A Mann-Whitney analysis did not find a significant difference in scores on the Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ; Gleaves et al., 2013) among individuals with a history of CSA as compared to individuals without a history of CSA; no significant differences in EHQ scores were found among individuals who experienced CSA on two or more occasions compared to individuals who experienced CSA on one occasion. A Mann-Whitney analysis confirmed that individuals previously diagnosed with an eating disorder, and those who previously received eating disorder treatment demonstrated higher ON symptomology severity. Mann-Whitney and one-way between groups ANOVAs revealed minimal-to-no group differences among sex, race, and age in EHQ scores, except for Caucasian/White individuals scoring higher than Asian/Asian American individuals. Lastly, an ANOVA revealed no significant findings between COVID-19 stressors and EHQ scores.


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