Presenter Information

Callie A. JacobsonFollow

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Past research has revealed mixed results in examining the relationships between trauma exposure and eating disorder (ED) pathology. For instance, sexual abuse (SA) has been implicated in the development of bulimia nervosa (BN), and physical abuse (PA) has been associated with general eating disorder (ED) pathology and specifically with distorted body image (Treuer, 2005). Still other research suggests that emotional abuse is the only child abuse predictive of abnormal eating in adulthood due to its profound influence on self-esteem and anxiety (Kent & Waller, 2000; Polivy & Herman, 2002). A majority of the research on trauma and eating pathology has focused on EDs and ED symptoms, with less emphasis on the more generalized concept of ‘disordered eating’, despite the fact that more individuals are likely to experience disordered eating than threshold EDs (Dos Santos Alvarenga, Scagliusi, & Philippi, 2010; Le Grange, Swanson, Crow, & Merikangas, 2012). Objective: The goal of this study was to explore the influence of different trauma exposure types on disordered eating. Method: 102 participants were recruited from an undergraduate college population and administered questionnaires regarding trauma history, eating behavior (using both an eating attitudes and a ED symptom-based measure), and demographic information. Results: Linear regression analyses showed a significant relationship between ED and SA according to the symptom-based measure (p < .05); though, SA was not significantly predictive of disordered eating. Further, no other significant relationships between trauma and eating variables were found. Discussion: This project contributes important information to the field of psychology as clinicians and researchers seek to understand the varying effects of trauma exposure and the complexity of disordered eating behaviors. Further this research highlights the importance of recognizing ED symptoms as well as general attitudes throughout assessment and treatment.

Category

Social Sciences

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 12:00 PM

Clarifying Correlations between Eating Pathology and Trauma Exposure

Past research has revealed mixed results in examining the relationships between trauma exposure and eating disorder (ED) pathology. For instance, sexual abuse (SA) has been implicated in the development of bulimia nervosa (BN), and physical abuse (PA) has been associated with general eating disorder (ED) pathology and specifically with distorted body image (Treuer, 2005). Still other research suggests that emotional abuse is the only child abuse predictive of abnormal eating in adulthood due to its profound influence on self-esteem and anxiety (Kent & Waller, 2000; Polivy & Herman, 2002). A majority of the research on trauma and eating pathology has focused on EDs and ED symptoms, with less emphasis on the more generalized concept of ‘disordered eating’, despite the fact that more individuals are likely to experience disordered eating than threshold EDs (Dos Santos Alvarenga, Scagliusi, & Philippi, 2010; Le Grange, Swanson, Crow, & Merikangas, 2012). Objective: The goal of this study was to explore the influence of different trauma exposure types on disordered eating. Method: 102 participants were recruited from an undergraduate college population and administered questionnaires regarding trauma history, eating behavior (using both an eating attitudes and a ED symptom-based measure), and demographic information. Results: Linear regression analyses showed a significant relationship between ED and SA according to the symptom-based measure (p < .05); though, SA was not significantly predictive of disordered eating. Further, no other significant relationships between trauma and eating variables were found. Discussion: This project contributes important information to the field of psychology as clinicians and researchers seek to understand the varying effects of trauma exposure and the complexity of disordered eating behaviors. Further this research highlights the importance of recognizing ED symptoms as well as general attitudes throughout assessment and treatment.