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Disordered eating attitudes and emotional/behavioral adjustment in Greek adolescents

  • Flora Bacopoulou
  • Elizabeth Foskolos
  • Charikleia Stefanaki
  • Eleni Tsitsami
  • Eleni Vousoura
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between disordered eating attitudes and emotional/behavioral adjustment in Greek adolescents as well as the moderating role of gender and body mass index (BMI) in this relationship.

Methods

Ninety adolescents, 11–18 years old, were assessed using anthropometric measurements; demographics, eating attitudes and level of emotional/behavioral adjustment were examined via self-reported questionnaires.

Results

Disordered eating attitudes were prevalent in 17.8% of the sample. A significant relationship was found between disordered eating attitudes and Youth Self-Report (YSR) anxiety score (r = .22, p < .05). Gender significantly moderated the relationship between YSR anxiety symptoms and Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) scores (b = .59, p = .01) and this effect held true for the EAT bulimia subscale (b = .20, p = .03), but not for the dieting or the oral control subscales. Contrary to our hypothesis, BMI did not moderate the relationship between EAT and YSR anxiety sub-scores (b = .13, p > .05).

Conclusion

Girls with elevated anxiety levels appear to be at risk for exhibiting disordered eating attitudes, especially bulimic behaviors. This finding highlights the importance of developing gender-based preventive interventions tailored to these specific emotional/behavioral aspects.

Level of evidence

Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

Keywords

Disordered eating Anxiety Bulimia Dieting Adolescence 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding

Funding for the study was provided to the Centre for Adolescent Medicine and UNESCO Chair on Adolescent Health Care of the First Department of Pediatrics of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, through Coca Cola Community Request - Grant 14,870,909 of the Fund for ‘Health & Nutrition Web Site & Internet Based Intervention Program for Adolescent Obesity in Greece’.

Conflict of interest

Author Bacopoulou Flora declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Foskolos Elizabeth declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Stefanaki Charikleia declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Tsitsami Eleni declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Vousoura Eleni declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study and their parents.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flora Bacopoulou
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Foskolos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charikleia Stefanaki
    • 1
  • Eleni Tsitsami
    • 1
  • Eleni Vousoura
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Adolescent Medicine and UNESCO Chair on Adolescent Health Care, First Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAghia Sophia Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  2. 2.First Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of AthensEginition HospitalAthensGreece

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