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Prevalence, incidence and prospective risk factors for eating disorders

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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.

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Keywords: anorexia; bulimia; eating disorders; incidence; prevalence; risk factors

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2001-08-01

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