Eating disorders Prevalence, incidence, and prospective risk factors for eating disorders among young adult women in the general population
Sammanfattning: Eating disorders (ED) constitute a significant source of psychiatric morbidity and are an important public health concern in Western societies. Knowledge about risk factors for ED is crucial for early detection and implementation of preventive interventions. The aim of the present thesis was to examine the prevalence, incidence, correlates, and the risk factors for ED among 1,157 young adult women in the general population. The studies in the thesis used a prospective design with the potential of addressing methodological limitations in earlier research.In Study I, conducted in 1997, the lifetime and point prevalence of DSM-IV-based diagnoses of ED was, respectively, 7.85% and 2.59%. Participants with ED reported higher body dissatisfaction, lower perceived social support from the family, and lower self-esteem compared to participants with no ED. In Study II, it was shown that highest relative use of escape-avoidance coping was reported among participants with ED, followed by dieting participants with no ED, and least among those neither dieting nor with ED. In Study III, (i.e., the follow-up in 1999), the point prevalence of ED was 3.15% and the cumulative 2-year first time incidence was .0105 (n=8). The total incidence group (n=34), as compared to the participants with no ED (controls, n=643), reported significantly lower premorbid self-esteem, and perceived social support from the family and higher body dissatisfaction, higher relative use of escape-avoidance coping, and dieting. Furthermore, the incidence group reported a significant increase in body dissatisfaction and relative use of escape-avoidance coping, and a significant decrease in self-esteem as compared to controls from 1997 to 1999. In Study IV, it was shown that the Survey for Eating Disorders is a reliable and valid self-report questionnaire for the screening of ED and case ascertainment. In conclusion, it is suggested that premorbid low self-esteem, perceived low social support, high body dissatisfaction, high relative use of escape-avoidance coping, and dieting be regarded as risk factors for a later development of ED among young adult women. It is also proposed that more attention be devoted to these factors both in designing prevention interventions and in refining current treatments.
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