Colleen Siti
2009-2010 Honors Student

Colleen SitiName: Colleen Siti
Honors in: Psychology
Hometown: Hampton, NJ
Major(s): Psychology

Title of project: Construction and Validation of a Weight Concern Scale

Abstract or brief description: Weight concern is a phenomenon that many females struggle with; however, there is much uncertainty as to the point at which simple dieting crosses the line into an eating disorder. The purpose of my study was to create a Weight Concern Scale to measure a range of actual behaviors in which those focused on their weight may engage. I hypothesized that women who report higher levels of weight concern will also report higher levels of perfectionism and depression, lower levels of forgiveness of self, and a larger discrepancy between their actual body image and ideal image. Participants completed my Weight Concern Scale, The Figural Rating Scale, the Heartland Forgiveness Scale, the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. As predicted, WCS total score was positively correlated with the size of the difference between ideal and self image, social perfectionism, and depression, and negatively correlated with forgiveness of self.

How did you get interested in your topic? I became interested in this topic while completing a literature review that focused on the link between anorexia and perfectionism.

Do you intend to research your topic further, if so, how? I plan to continue research with the Weight Concern Scale this summer, and also in graduate school. During the summer I am planning on administering my scale to women in an inpatient setting of an eating disorders unit, and work on creating a focus group about the scale with these women.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? I feel as if participating in honors has been extremely beneficial to me, because I had the chance to work independently through the process of creating and validating an instrument. I also feel that the entire process of writing a thesis and defending my work has prepared me for my future endeavors in graduate school

How has the department in which you studied prepared you for the future? My honors advisor, Dr. Toedter, has done a fantastic job preparing me for the challenges of graduate work. Her help and guidance in data collection, thesis writing, statistical analysis, and overall comprehension of data has been irreplaceable in helping me prepare for graduate school.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? I would tell students interested in honors that it is a great deal of work. I would also especially say that this is the type of work in which one will need to become adept at time management and being independent, but the experience is 100% worth the effort.