A set of meta-analytic studies on the factors associated with disordered eating

Emma Vince, Ian Walker

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8 Citations (SciVal)


Objective: To consolidate knowledge from research on associates of disordered eating to guide future research efforts, asking “which factors are associated with the presence of disturbed eating/ anorexia/ bulimia?”
Method: We reviewed 232 studies, comprising 87,878 participants, through 74 individual meta-analyses under 12 associative factor category headings.
Results: Race had no association (r = .02), whilst anxiety (r = .47) and depression (r = .39) were modestly associated with disordered eating. Women with eating disorders were more likely than controls to have experienced abuse (r = .19), personality disorders (r = .26), an increased tendency to self-harm (r = .37), various personality traits such as perfectionism (r = .30) and hostility (r = .40), and engage in more exercise (r = .13). A higher incidence of stressful life events were reported by women with bulimia (r = .23) but not by women with other eating disorders.
Conclusions: Although disturbed eating, anorexia and bulimia show similar associations with various factors, they also show some disorder-specific relationships, highlighting overlapping and unique aspects of the disorders. Suggestions to benefit further research are proposed based on these differences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternet Journal of Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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