Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Professor Lizano


Research suggests that trauma has an impact on eating disorders. While prior research has demonstrated that the trauma from abuse has a significant impact on eating disorders, research has failed to explore other types of trauma. In addition, previous studies have stopped short of examining the impact trauma has on functioning among individuals with an eating disorder. This study aimed to address that gap in the literature. The purpose of this study is to examine whether traumatic life events impact psychosocial functioning among individuals living with an eating disorder. Furthermore, this study aimed to identify which traumas are shown to have the strongest impact on psychosocial functioning.

A quantitative design was used for this investigation, using measurement scales that have been shown to be valid and reliable in measuring the constructs of trauma and psychosocial functioning among individuals with an eating disorder. Participants completed a single survey of the combined measurement scales. A non-random purposive sample was collected from online social media cites Tumblr, Facebook, eating disorder message boards, and an outpatient eating disorder treatment center. Using a study sample of N= 2,319 descriptive and inferential statistics were conducted using SPSS. Based on the results of correlation and multiple regression analyses, a statistically significant relationship was found between traumatic life events and psychosocial impairment among those with eating disorders. The findings of this study have the potential to impact the way social work policies address the relationship between trauma and eating disorders, and influence the way social work clinicians implement strategies to treat both trauma and eating psychopathology.