Sex differences in psychosocial impairment associated with eating-disordered behavior: What if there aren't any?

Caroline Bentley*, Jonathan Mond, Bryan Rodgers

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: We sought to test the hypothesis that eating-disordered behavior (EDB) is associated with comparable levels of impairment in psychosocial functioning in men and women. Method: Postal questionnaires that assessed EDB (binge eating, purging, extreme dietary restriction, excessive exercise and weight/shape overvaluation) and psychosocial impairment (general psychological distress, life satisfaction and social support) were completed by a general population sample of men (n = 957) and women (n = 1899). Results: Binge eating, purging and overvaluation were associated with comparable levels of psychosocial impairment for both men and women and this was the case for each of the three measures of psychosocial functioning employed. Extreme dietary restriction was associated with greater psychosocial impairment in women than in men, whereas excessive exercise was not associated with psychosocial impairment in either women or men. Conclusions: There appear to be few differences between men and women in terms of psychosocial impairment associated with EDB. It may no longer be appropriate to base the development of eating disorder prevention programs on the premise that EDB is primarily a problem of women. Health professionals may be more likely to see more men with EDB in their practices in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)609-614
    Number of pages6
    JournalEating Behaviors
    Volume15
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

    Keywords

    • Eating-disordered behavior
    • Prevention
    • Psychosocial functioning
    • Sex differences

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