Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John Wanzenried

Second Advisor

Michael Sherer

Third Advisor

Diane Gillespie


This relational study had therapists from an eating disorder program distribute a touch avoidance questionnaire to patients currently in treatment for an eating disorder. This study looked at touch avoidance among three groups: subjects with an eating disorder and non-sexual abuse background, subjects with an eating disorder and sexual abuse background, and a control group. The questionnaire consisted of the 20 question Same-Sex Touching Scale (SSTS) (Larsen & LeRoux, 1984) and the Touch Avoidance Measure (TAM) (Andersen & Leibowitz, 1978). T-tests revealed a significant value of -2.19 on the TAM between eating disorder and eating disorder/sexual abuse, a score of 3.66 between eating disorder/sexual abuse and control on the TAM, and a score between the same groups of 2.05 on the combined questionnaire. Results indicate that eating disorder individuals are no more touch avoidant than the control group and that eating disorder/sexual abuse background are more touch avoidant than both non-abused eating disorder individuals and the control group.


A Thesis Proposal Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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