Risk Factors for Disordered Eating During Early and Middle Adolescence: A Two Year Longitudinal Study of Mainland Chinese Boys and Girls
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Even though reliable eating disorder risk factors have been identified among adolescent girls, little is known about predictors of increased vulnerability within specific phases of adolescence or among adolescent boys, particularly in highly populated non-Western contexts. In this study, early and middle adolescent boys (n = 1,271) and girls (n = 1,415) from Chongqing, China completed validated measures of eating disorder pathology and putative risk factors at baseline and 2 years follow-up. Multivariate models for boys of each age group indicated increases in disordered eating at follow-up were predicted by higher initial body mass index, negative affect and body dissatisfaction levels as well as attendant increases in perceived appearance pressure from mass media, body dissatisfaction, negative affect between assessments. High baseline levels of reported appearance pressure from parents and dating partners contributed, respectively, to prediction models of younger and older boys. More distinct constellations of significant predictors emerged in multivariate models of early versus middle adolescent girls. Together, findings indicated body dissatisfaction and negative affect were fairly robust risk factors for exacerbations in disturbances across samples while risk factors such as perceived pressure from desired/prospective dating partners were salient only during particular phases of adolescence.
KeywordsDisordered eating Risk factors Adolescents China Gender
This research was supported by funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (#31170981 and #31371037), Education Ministry of China, a Chongqing 100 Persons Fellowship, and the BaYu Scholar Program of the Chongqing Government We thank Zhang Tingyan, He Yulan, Chen Nanjing, Gao Xiao, Jiang Xiaxia, Chen Minyan, Pan Chenjing, Yang Tingting, and Zhao Yi for assistance with data collection and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.
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