Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2023

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Taryn Akgul


Eating disorders, perfectionism, body image, school counseling


An eating disorder is a mental illness characterized by severe, unhealthy changes in appetite and dysphoric body image. One main indicator that an eating disorder is likely to occur is the person having a perfectionistic personality type. Another major factor is having an intense consciousness of body image, often with this being very skewed and negative. Both, when brought to extremes, have dangerous consequences for the person’s mental and physical health. Eating disorders typically first appear in adolescence or young adulthood, most markedly for females; thus, it is pertinent that school counselors are aware of the signs of an eating disorder. Additionally, the access to sufficient treatment and care, including the incompetence of school counselors to care for or treat adolescents with eating disorders, is few and far between. This literature review investigates eating disorders and their connections with the personality trait of perfectionism, and body image, with special attention to the concepts of top performance and the thin ideal. Furthermore, it discusses the competence of school counselors in relation to this mental illness and proffers certain treatments school counselors can implement for these students. Overall, this literature review looks into eating disorders and their connection to perfectionism and body image. It then goes into some of the research and common findings between these topics, with an addition to why it is important for school counselors to have this knowledge and the implications this has. It also addresses current issues regarding school counselors providing care for eating disorders and provides suggestions of treatment options. Finally, it briefly mentions the diversity gap in eating disorder research and the implications this has for school counselors. With all of this in mind, it offers a potential school counseling group that school counselors can implement, based off of the body positivity movement.

Included in

Counseling Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.