Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Elana B. Gordis

Committee Member

Mitchell Earleywine


The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating effect of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) on the relation between family conflict and disordered eating behaviors. Participants were 67 undergraduate students at the University at Albany, SUNY, ages 17 to 40. Researchers used a retrospective measure of harsh parenting and interparental aggression experienced during childhood and adolescence to determine how sympathetic activation interacts with family conflict in predicting disordered eating behaviors in a sample of university students. SNS activation was measured by baseline skin conductance level (SCL). Results indicated that SCL moderated the relationship between harsh parenting experienced during childhood and eating disorder behaviors. This suggests that perhaps in individuals at risk for disordered eating behaviors as a result of harsh parenting, lower levels of sympathetic activation fail to inhibit the impulse to engage in potentially risky or destructive behaviors.

Included in

Psychology Commons