22 November 2010
Child Abuse and Risk of Eating Disorders in Women
Eating disorders are psychological problems that have been plaguing millions of lives around the US and other parts of the world. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating are the most common types seen among patients. The concrete causes of these disorders are rather vague and vary between patients. Possible sources that prompt the disorders, however, range from low self-esteem, dieting, dissatisfaction, desire for perfection, and family influences such as criticism, and/or even abuse. The victims extend to all different ages and both genders. However, it is noted that risks are ...view middle of the document...
Within this previous study, the cases tested for this experiment were women who met the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder after being interviewed for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (also referred to as DSM-IV). To assess a history of childhood abuse, the researchers had the 907 women from this parent study to take a self-administered questionnaire titled the Survey of Interpersonal Relationships. Out of these 907 participants, 732 of the women (with and without eating disorders) completed the survey. The 732 women serve as the population for this study.
The three eating disorders mentioned constitute the study’s outcome. Anorexia falls under the refusal to maintain a certain body weight that is regular for age and height. Bulimia nervosa is defined as periodic occurrences of binge eating and is characterized by a lack of control. Lastly, binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia in that excessive eating is a problem but the difference is drawn because no purging is involved. Therefore, the women being studied were observed to possess the symptoms of either of these disorders. As for childhood abuse, the severity of abuse was measured and classified into three levels of mild, moderate, and severe. Mild was defined as being “spanked”, moderate was defined as “pushed, grabbed, shoved, kicked, bit, or punched” while severe was defined by being “choked or burned, physically attacked” (Rayworth et al).
The researchers found that, in comparison to the women who did not report any abuse, that the woman who were victimized by childhood physical abuse had twice the likelihood of suffering “from subclinical eating disorder symptoms or meeting DSM-IV criteria for an eating disorder (odds ratio – 2.0; 95% confidence interval= 1.3-3.3 or for DSM-IV 2.1; 1.1-4.2)” (Rayworth et al). However women that reported both physical and sexual abuse in their childhood were 3 times more likely of developing eating disorder symptoms and 4 times likely of falling under the DSM-IV criteria. The associations between the eating disorder and the abuse endured within the subgroup of women who had no previous depression to first start an eating disorder.
Through this study it is obvious that complexities exist in the connection between childhood abuse and the development of eating disorders. Childhood abuse has the power of influencing one’s psychological being and therefore could have the possibility of affecting...