Psychological problems in adolescents and young women with eating disturbances

Sammanfattning: Ekeroth, K. (2005). Psychological problems in adolescents and young women with eating disturbances. Department of Psychology, Göteborg University, Sweden This thesis investigated general psychopathology in adolescent and young adult female patients with eating disorders (ED) and in women from the general population with or without self-reported eating problems. First, an overview of different approaches for assessing and classifying psychopathology is presented. The thesis continues with a general description of eating disorders and co-morbidity in eating disorder patients. Since no appropriate standardized self-report measure of general psychopathology for adolescents was available in Sweden, study I provides normative data for the Youth Self- Report (YSR) when completed by Swedish adolescents and tests the impact of various demographical variables. In Study II, the YSR was used to assess general psychopathology and competencies in female adolescent ED patients compared to matched controls. Results showed that girls with ED reported less competence and more problems compared to controls. Patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) scored higher than both patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and those with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) on most problem scales, and AN-bingers/purgers scored higher than pure restrictors on externalizing behaviors. About twice as many patients with BN and the binging/purging type of AN scored in the clinical range on total problems compared to pure restricting AN patients and EDNOS patients. Study III compared young adult women with EDs with controls from the general population with and without self-reported eating problems on general psychopathology, using the Symptom Check-List-90 (SCL-90). Results showed that controls with self-reported eating problems reported as many emotional and behavior problems as patients with ED. In study IV, a three-year follow-up was obtained on young adult patients and controls concerning eating related problems and general psychopathology. Results showed that after three years, patients with ED did not differ significantly from controls, while the elevated problem scores in women with self-reported eating problems from the general population, remained. Findings are discussed in relation to diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

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