Overt and covert sexual abuse: Relationship to body image and eating disturbance
Article first published online: 6 DEC 1998
Copyright © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 22, Issue 3, pages 273–284, November 1997
How to Cite
Weiner, K. E. and Thompson, J. K. (1997), Overt and covert sexual abuse: Relationship to body image and eating disturbance. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 22: 273–284. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199711)22:3<273::AID-EAT6>3.0.CO;2-K
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 1998
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 1998
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 APR 1996
- overt sexual abuse;
- covert sexual abuse;
- eating disturbance;
- body image
To separate forms of overt and covert sexual abuse and assess their independent contribution to the development of body image and eating disturbance. Method: A new measure was developed—the Covert-Overt Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (COSAQ)—and correlated with levels of body image, eating disturbance, social desirability, self-esteem, and depression. Results: Factor analyses on three independent samples yielded two distinct subscales which were labelled Overt and Covert. Each scale had excellent internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Regression analyses demonstrated the ability of the Covert factor to explain variance associated with body image disturbance and eating dysfunction beyond that accounted for by levels of social desirability, self-esteem, depression, and overt sexual abuse. Discussion: These findings support the importance of a more “subtle” form of early trauma—covert sexual abuse—in the development of body image and eating-related problems. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 22:273–284, 1997.