Risk Factors for Eating Disorders

Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 05/2007; 62(3):181-98. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.181
Source: PubMed


The authors review research on risk factors for eating disorders, restricting their focus to studies in which clear precedence of the hypothesized risk factor over onset of the disorder is established. They illustrate how studies of sociocultural risk factors and biological factors have progressed on parallel tracks and propose that major advances in understanding the etiology of eating disorders require a new generation of studies that integrate these domains. They discuss how more sophisticated and novel conceptualizations of risk and causal processes may inform both nosology and intervention efforts.

Download full-text


Available from: Ruth Striegel Weissman,
  • Source
    • "The etiologies of eating disorders and their core symptoms are best characterized by multifactorial models involving biological, psychological, interpersonal, and cultural variables [1]. Experts have also noted, however, that the research is limited by the dearth of prospective studies with samples large enough to detect small or medium sized effects, the inclusion of demographically limited samples, and the lack of follow-up periods that are long enough to fully capture the period of development when the risk of the onset of eating disorder symptoms is highest [1,2]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background There exists a dearth of prospective adolescent eating disorder studies with samples that are large enough to detect small or medium sized effects for risk factors, that are generalizable to the broader population, and that follow adolescents long enough to fully capture the period of development when the risk of eating disorder symptoms occurring is highest. As a result, the purpose of this study was to examine psychosocial risk factors for purging for weight control in a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Data were extracted from the restricted-use data sets of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Waves I-III), selecting females with valid demographic and purging information (N = 5,670). Results The prevalence of purging was 0.88% at Wave II and 0.56% at Wave III. In multivariable multinomial logistic regressions, purging at Wave II was predicted by parental poverty and low levels of self-esteem at Wave I; purging at Wave III was predicted by body mass index and the frequency of delinquent behaviors at Wave I. Conclusions Individuals with high body mass index, individuals with low self-esteem, and individuals in families experiencing economic hardship appear specifically at risk for the development of purging behaviors in later years and may benefit from more targeted prevention efforts.
    International Journal of Eating Disorders 01/2014; 2(1):1. DOI:10.1186/2050-2974-2-1 · 3.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Several pathways have been suggested to explain why the offspring of mothers with eating disorders may be at an increased risk of developing an eating disorder themselves. One proposed pathway is through passive geneenvironment correlation (Plomin et al. 1977), whereby these children may inherit genes that place them at greater risk for developing eating disorders (Clarke et al. 2012; Thornton et al. 2011), and they may also be inadvertently exposed to disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in their home environment that could further exacerbate risk (Watkins et al. 2012; Striegel-Moore and Bulik 2007). Independent of genetic predisposition, it is critical that we understand which environmental factors may be influencing the development of healthy eating attitudes and behaviors in the children of mothers with eating disorders in order to help prevent future disordered eating. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this pilot project was to describe maternal responsiveness during child feeding in mothers with eating disorder histories through the combined use of observational, self-report, and physiologic methods. For this non-randomized cohort pilot study, 25 mothers with histories of eating disorders and 25 mothers with no history of an eating disorder with children ages 6–36 months were selected such that the groups were similar based on child age group (within 6 months) and child sex. Maternal behavioral responsiveness to child cues was assessed by video-recording and behavioral coding of both a free-play and feeding episode. Physiologic engagement was assessed through measurement of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) reactivity during free-play and feeding episodes. No differences were detected in observed behavioral responsiveness during feeding or free-play in mothers with eating disorder histories compared with controls. Mothers with eating disorder histories did report more parenting stress, increased anxiety, and exhibited a blunted physiologic stress response (less RSA reactivity) during both feeding and free-play interactions with their children. These results support future larger-scale investigations of RSA reactivity in mothers with eating disorders.
    Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 12/2013; 35(4). DOI:10.1007/s10862-013-9357-2 · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "According to several eating disorder theorists and various etiological models of eating disturbances, the negative effects of media exposure are central to the onset of subclinical and clinical eating disorders (Dakanalis, Di Mattei, Prunas et al., 2012; Dakanalis & Riva, 2013; Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997; Riva, 2011; Schnitzler, von Ranson, & Wallace, 2012; Shroff & Thompson, 2006; Stice, 2001, 2002; Striegel-Moore & Bulik, 2007). In recent years, several dimensions of the potential influence of the media on women's body image and eating disorder patterns have been examined (i.e., information , pressure and internalization; Calogero, Davis, & Thompson, 2004; Dakanalis, Clerici, et al., in press; Dakanalis & Riva, 2013; Stefanile et al., 2011; Thompson, van den Berg, Roehrig, Guarda, & Heinberg, 2004), and it has been demonstrated that women with clinical eating disorders scored significantly higher on internalization of media ideals as compared to those without eating disorders (Calogero et al., 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction. – Various psychosocial variables may affect the strength of the relationship between body image dissatisfaction and women's eating disorder symptomatology. Objective. – Informed by Tylka (2004) and Brannan and Petrie (2011) research, the current study examined body surveillance and self-esteem as well as three additional theoretically relevant variables (social interaction anxiety, internalization of media ideals and attachment anxiety) as potential moderators of this relationship. Method. – A cross-sectional design was used. A sample of 538 young Italian women completed self-report questionnaires. Results. – Hierarchical moderated regression indicated that self-esteem buffered the deleterious effects of body dissatisfaction, whereas social interaction anxiety, body surveillance, internalization of media ideals and attachment anxiety intensified the primary body dissatisfaction-eating disorder symptomatology relationship. Conclusion. – Several risk and protective factors were found to interact with body dissatisfaction to influ-ence its relation to women's eating disorder symptomatology. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
    Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée 09/2013; 63(5):323-334. DOI:10.1016/j.erap.2013.08.001 · 0.52 Impact Factor
Show more