Chew and spit (CHSP) in a large adolescent sample

prevalence, impact on health-related quality of life, and relation to other disordered eating features

Phillip Aouad*, Phillipa Hay, Nerissa Soh, Stephen Touyz, Haider Mannan, Deborah Mitchison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


A recent general population study of Chew and Spit (CHSP) behavior in adults found a 0.4% prevalence, predominantly in females. The current study explores this further by examining the same phenomenon in secondary-school aged adolescents. This study also explores the relationship between CHSP and other demographic and eating disorder (ED) features in 5111 adolescents (11-to-19 years of age) from 13 schools in New South Wales, Australia. Participants completed measures of ED symptoms and behaviors and change to impairment with two components: psychological distress (K-10) and health related quality of life (HRQoL; PedsQL). CHSP was found to have a 12.2% (95% CI 0.114, 0.132]) point-prevalence rate. Participants who indicated engaging in CHSP reported significantly higher levels of psychological distress (K-10) and lower HRQoL scores (PedsQL) compared to those that did not report CHSP. There was a dose-response relationship between CHSP frequency, psychological distress and HRQoL physical scores but not for HRQoL emotional and HRQoL social scores. Participants who reported regular CHSP were more likely to be female, younger, and to engage in compensatory behaviors such as purging. The high frequency of CHSP behavior in adolescents with disordered eating could suggest that CHSP should be considered in routine ED screening practices. Future studies may examine how to treat CHSP or investigate more focused treatment approaches, in order to target the behavior of CHSP more directly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEating Disorders
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2019

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