, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 203-216

Disordered Eating Precursors in Pre- and Early Adolescent Girls and Boys

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First- and second-year findings from a study of the development of disordered eating in pre- and early adolescents are presented. Fifth- and sixth-grade girls (n = 80) and boys (n = 85) were assessed on depression, body image, self-esteem, and eating behaviors and attitudes in Year 1 and again one year later. Weight, height, and pubertal development were also evaluated in Year 1 and Year 2. Gender differences existed on all measures in Year 2 and indicated consistently poorer scores for girls compared to boys. For girls, Year 1 Body Mass Index and pubertal development predicted Year 2 disordered eating. For boys, poor body image in Year 1 predicted Year 2 disordered eating. The importance of identifying early risk factors for eating disorders is discussed.