Disordered eating behaviours and cognitions in young women with obesity: Relationship with psychological status

A. Darby*, P. Hay, J. Mond, B. Rodgers, C. Owen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    91 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To examine levels of eating disorder behaviours and cognitions of young women with obesity in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia and assess the impact upon psychological status. Design: General population cross-sectional survey. Subjects: A total of 4891 young women from the community aged 18-42 years, of which 630 were in the obese weight range. Measurements: Body mass index (BMI), eating disorder psychopathology (eating disorder examination questionnaire), and psychological distress (K-10). Results: Women with obesity had significantly higher levels of dietary restraint, eating concern, weight concern, shape concern, binge eating, misuse of diuretics, use of diet pills and fasting compared to other women in the community. These eating disorder cognitions and behaviours were associated with increased levels of psychological distress. In women with obesity, eating concern, weight concern, shape concern, dietary restraint and decreased age predicted psychological distress in a multivariate model. Among other women in the community, behaviours such as laxative misuse, 'hard' exercise and subjective bulimic episodes also contributed to the model predicting psychological distress. Conclusion: As disordered eating psychopathology is high in young obese women and negatively impacts upon psychological status, obesity prevention and treatment should consider eating disorder psychopathology and mental health outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)876-882
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2007


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