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A Set of Meta-Analytic Studies on the Factors Associated with Disordered Eating

Author(s): Emma P. Vince | Ian Walker

Journal: The Internet Journal of Mental Health
ISSN 1531-2941

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Meta analysis | Anorexia Nervosa | Bulimia Nervosa | Eating disorders

Objective: To consolidate knowledge from research on associates of disordered eating to guide future research efforts, asking “which factors are associated with the presence of disturbed eating/ anorexia/ bulimia?” Method: We reviewed 232 studies, comprising 87,878 participants, through 74 individual meta-analyses under 12 associative factor category headings.Results: Race had no association (r = .02), whilst anxiety (r = .47) and depression (r = .39) were modestly associated with disordered eating. Women with eating disorders were more likely than controls to have experienced abuse (r = .19), personality disorders (r = .26), an increased tendency to self-harm (r = .37), various personality traits such as perfectionism (r = .30) and hostility (r = .40), and engage in more exercise (r = .13). A higher incidence of stressful life events were reported by women with bulimia (r = .23) but not by women with other eating disorders.Conclusions: Although disturbed eating, anorexia and bulimia show similar associations with various factors, they also show some disorder-specific relationships, highlighting overlapping and unique aspects of the disorders. Suggestions to benefit further research are proposed based on these differences.
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