Sex differences in psychosocial impairment associated with eating disorder features in adolescents

a school-based study

Caroline Bentley, Kassandra Gratwick-Sarll, Carmel Harrison, Jonathan Mond

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To examine sex differences in psychosocial impairment associated with eating disorder features (EDF) in adolescents. Method: Questionnaires that assessed EDF (extreme dietary restriction, objective binge eating, subjective binge eating, purging, excessive exercise, and weight/shape overvaluation) and psychosocial impairment (general psychological distress and quality of life) were completed by a school-based sample of adolescent males (n = 531) and females (n = 1135) in the Australian Capital Territory region of Australia. Results: Each of the EDF assessed was associated with significant impairment in both male and female participants and this was the case for measures of both general psychological distress and quality of life, the only exception being that subjective binge eating was associated with elevated levels of distress in girls but not boys. The occurrence of subjective binge eating was associated with greater impairment in quality of life in girls than in boys. Otherwise, the effects of EDF on psychosocial functioning did not differ by sex. The prevalence of most EDF was higher in girls than in boys, although EDF were not uncommon in boys. Discussion: There appear to be few differences between male and female adolescents in terms of psychosocial impairment associated with EDF. The findings support the need for preventive interventions that seek to reduce the adverse impact of EDF in both boys and girls. The logistic and policy challenges inherent in such efforts warrant greater consideration. Further research is needed to elucidate the help-seeking behavior of young men with EDF who experience psychosocial impairment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)633-640
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Volume48
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

    Keywords

    • eating disorder features
    • psychosocial functioning
    • adolescents
    • sex differences

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sex differences in psychosocial impairment associated with eating disorder features in adolescents: a school-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this