Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.


disordered eating, drive for muscularity, drive for thinness, sociocultural model


Historically disordered eating research has been gendered with models focusing on women’s pursuit of a thin ideal, as well as men’s attempts to obtain a muscular ideal. The motivations to achieve these ideals are called the drive for thinness (DT) and drive for muscularity (DM). More recently, a cultural shift has been noted in that ideal bodies are converging across sexes to a lean ideal, with the associated motivation being labeled the drive for leanness (DL). As DL is a nascent construct, little is known about its relationships with DT and DM, or if it predicts or is predicted by the same variables that are associated with DT and DM. This study aimed to expand what is known about DL in four ways: 1) ascertain the uniqueness of DL from DT and DM; 2) explore whether DL is sex neutral; 3) investigate the extent to which DL is more or less adaptive than DT and/or DM in terms of health-related outcomes; and 4) explore associations between DL and established predictors from sociocultural models of disordered eating. Analyses evidenced support for DL’s distinctiveness from DT and DM, partial support for DL’s sex neutrality, partial support discerned via relationships with health-related outcomes for DL’s adaptive nature in comparison to DT or DM, and support for DL’s relationships with sociocultural predictors being similar to that seen between these predictors with DT and DM. This study adds to the literature by broadening what is known about DL’s uniqueness, sex neutrality, adaptive nature, and sociocultural fit in relation to the other drives within a theory based framework, providing a potential basis for future DL model building and research in general.