Change in eating disorder attitudes and behavior in college women: Prevalence and predictors

Kelly C. Berg, Patricia Frazier, Laura Sherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is evidence suggesting that disordered eating is common among female college students, there is little research on whether these behaviors increase during college. This study examined change in eating disorder (ED) symptoms in undergraduate women, and the relationship between change in ED symptoms and change in risk factors. Participants (N = 186) completed measures of ED symptoms (i.e., bingeing, purging, and bulimic attitudes) and risk factors (i.e., academic stress, body dissatisfaction, depression, self-esteem, and social insecurity) at two time points, two months apart. ED symptoms were common, with 49% and 40% of the sample endorsing disordered eating an average of at least once per week at Time 1 and Time 2, respectively. Mean scores decreased on all ED symptoms and risk factors except bingeing. However, individual change scores indicated that ED symptoms and risk factors did not change reliably for most women. When change occurred, decreases in symptoms were more common than increases. The most consistent predictors of decreases in ED symptoms were increases in body satisfaction and self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

Keywords

  • College students
  • Eating disorders
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Risk factors

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