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Sex Differences in Psychosocial Impairment Associated with Eating Disorder Features in Adolescents: A SchoolBased Study


Bentley, C and Gratwick-Sarll, K and Harrison, C and Mond, J, Sex Differences in Psychosocial Impairment Associated with Eating Disorder Features in Adolescents: A SchoolBased Study, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48, (6) pp. 633-640. ISSN 0276-3478 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1002/eat.22396


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 (n5 531) and females (n5 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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Eating disorder features, Psychosocial functioning
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Mond, J (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:117584
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:45
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-06-20
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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