Objective: To examine the prevalence, incidence and prospective risk factors for eating disorders (ED) among young adult females.
Method: Using a prospective design, a randomly selected sample of 1157 females (18-30 years) from the general population was examined with questionnaires for establishing ED diagnoses, self-esteem, body concern, coping and perceived social support.
Results: The prevalence of ED was 3.2% and the 2-year first-time incidence was 0.0105 (n=8). Subjects in the extended incidence group (n=34) reported significantly lower self-esteem and perceived social support, and higher body concern and relative use of escape-avoidance coping, at the onset of the study in 1997, compared to controls (n=643). Furthermore, they reported a significant increase in body concern and relative use of escape-avoidance coping, and a significant decrease in self-esteem compared to controls from 1997 to 1999.
Conclusion: These factors may be considered as risk factors for later development of ED among young adult women.