Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sara Lowmaster


Childhood maltreatment has been identified as a risk factor for psychopathology, including disordered eating. The current study tested a transdiagnostic theoretical model, posited by McLaughlin and colleagues (2020), that integrates difficulties with emotions, perceived deviation in pubertal timing, and social information processing deficits to explain the relationship between childhood maltreatment exposure and the development of a range of psychopathology. Specifically, the current study incorporated the aforementioned mechanisms to explain the relationship of child maltreatment with disordered eating. While research supports associations between the aforementioned variables, it is unclear if these three mechanisms better explain the relationship between exposure to childhood maltreatment and disordered eating cognitions and behaviors, when considered simultaneously. Therefore, the current study examined if the relationship between exposure to childhood maltreatment and disordered eating cognitions and behaviors is mediated by social information processing deficits, perceived deviation in pubertal timing, and difficulties with emotions. Participants were recruited cross- sectionally and eligible for participation if they were assigned female sex at birth and between the ages of 18 and 26. Consistent with current study hypotheses, when all mediating variables were considered, child maltreatment had a significant total indirect effect on more severe disordered eating, b = 0.20, CI 95% [0.06, 0.34], p = .03, and range of disordered eating severity, b = 0.15, CI 95% [0.07, 0.23], p < .01. Conclusions, limitations, and future directions are also discussed.

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


childhood trauma, disordered eating

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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