Eating disorder pathology among overweight treatment-seeking youth: clinical correlates and cross-sectional risk modeling.

Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 11/2007; 45(10):2360-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2007.03.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Preliminary research suggests that pediatric overweight is associated with increased eating disorder pathology, however, little is known about which overweight youth are most vulnerable to eating disorder pathology. We therefore investigated 122 overweight treatment-seeking youth to describe eating disorder pathology and mental health correlates, and to identify psychopathological constructs that may place overweight youth at increased risk for eating disorder pathology. Youth participated in a comprehensive assessment of eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, general psychopathology, and risk variables involving semi-structured clinical interviews and self- and parent-report questionnaires prior to the initiation of weight-loss treatment. Ten youth met criteria for an eating disorder, and over one-third endorsed recent binge eating. Eating disorder pathology was associated with depressive and anxious symptoms (p's<0.001). Structural equation modeling indicated increased negative affect, teasing experience, and thin-ideal internalization, and decreased perfectionism were associated with increased eating disorder pathology. Findings corroborate earlier work indicating that eating disorder pathology is elevated and clinically significant in overweight treatment-seeking youth, bolstering the need for mental health assessment of such individuals. Cross-sectional modeling proposed key variables that relate to eating disorder pathology in overweight treatment-seeking youth, which following prospective replication, may inform the development of effective interventions for overweight and eating disorders.

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