Oral control and body dissatisfaction in older adults: a note of caution

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Responses of 99 older adults (mean age 75.5 years) on the EAT-26 oral control subscale and the body dissatisfaction subscale of the Eating Disorders Inventory were examined in 29 congestive heart failure (CHF) patients who had lost a mean 8.5 kg in the preceding 12 months and in 21 CHF patients of stable weight and two groups of healthy older adults with no known weight loss. Whilst significant group differences on oral control were found (p<0.001) item analysis showed that 3/7 items correlated negatively with the subscale total. Endorsement of ‘oral control’ items did not necessarily denote an ‘eating disordered attitude’. Similarly item analysis of ‘body dissatisfaction’ totals showed a dissociation between general body dissatisfaction and ‘feeling too fat’. Caution is needed in interpreting eating attitude scales with older adults, however ‘eating disorders’ research should widen its focus to investigate groups other than the young women on whom most scales were standardized. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK 2: Department of Psychology, Chester College, Chester, UK 3: Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Wirral Hospital NHS Trust, Upton, Wirral, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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