Decline of Binge Eating from Adolescence to Adulthood
Binge eating disorder is a common eating disorder affecting both males and females. It involves episodes of uncontrollable eating.
Binge eaters usually eat more quickly than others. They eat until uncomfortably full and eat even when they are not hungry. To avoid embarrassment, they usually eat alone. They feel depressed and guilty after over-eating.
Compensatory behaviors are a common feature of binge eating. They are further divided into non-purging and purging behaviors. Purging behaviors include self-induced vomiting and use of diuretics and laxatives, while non-purging behaviors involve use of diet pills, dietary restraints and exercises.
Dawit Shawel and colleagues conducted a study to explore gender differences and age trends in binge eating, purging and non-purging compensatory behaviors and their association with psychological problems.
For the purpose of study, data was collected from the national representative longitudinal study "Young in Norway" from individuals aged between 14 to 34 years. Analyses of covariance, logistic random intercept models and
χ2 tests were the methods used for the assessment of the data.
Binging and compensatory behaviors were recorded by the six items on the scale of severity of the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE). Because of the small size of the purging group, binge eating with non-purging compensatory behaviors and binge eating with purging compensatory behaviors could not be separated.
Eating problems were also evaluated with two general measures- the BITE scale and the Eating Attitude Test-12 (EAT-12).
Appearance Satisfaction was recorded by the Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS). Seven body areas or factors were taken into consideration while assessing level of satisfaction- lower torso, face, upper torso, mid-torso, weight, height and muscle tone.
Depressive symptoms were recorded by the 6-item Depressive Mood Inventory constructed by Kandel and Davies.
Anxiety symptoms were measured by six items obtained from Hopkins Symptoms Checklist.
General Self-worth was recorded by the Global Self-Worth subscale of a revised version of the Harter's Perception Profile for Adolescents.
Alcohol Consumption was noted by asking the volunteers how often they drank to be completely inebriated in the past twelve months.
Relationship to parents was recorded by recording their emotional relationship with their parents. The short version of Parental Bonding Instrument was used for assessing the bonding with parents.
Self concept was recorded by a revised version of Rosenberg's Stability of Self Scale.
Social support was assessed by the five items of the Social Support Questionnaire.
Loneliness was recorded by a 5-item version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
Body mass index was calculated from height and weight, age was noted at the time of survey and gender was coded 1 for males and 2 for females.
A decline was noticed in the occurrence of compensatory behaviors in both genders from adolescence to young adulthood. In females, binging also showed a marked decrease over time. Females were more prone to purging and the habit of purging was related with serious psychological ailments. Purging was associated with high degree of anxiety, dissatisfaction, alcohol consumption, loneliness, self-concept instability and depressive symptoms.
It was concluded that people affected with purging should be regarded as high-risk group. Further researches should be done to investigate the factors affecting eating disorders in adolescent years and in adulthood.
Binge Eating, Purging and Non-purging Compensatory Behaviours Decrease from Adolescence to Adulthood; Dawit Shawel et al; BMC Public Health