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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • self-esteem;
  • neuroticism;
  • cross-sectional

Abstract

Objective

To study the relationship of self-esteem and personality factors with eating disorders (ED).

Methods

A region-wide representative sample of 2862 girls 12–21 years old from Navarre (Spain) participated in the baseline assessment of a prospective study. A two-stage procedure was used, consisting in a first screening phase followed by a psychiatrist interview (DSM-IV criteria). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the association of self-esteem (36-item scale) and personality characteristics (Eysenck inventory) with psychiatrist-diagnosed ED while controlling for potential confounders.

Results

Strong associations for ED were found with low self-esteem (adjusted odds ratio [adjOR] for the lowest quartile: 7.98, 95% CI: 3.4–18.8) and high levels of neuroticism (adjOR for the highest quartile: 9.49, 95% Cl: 3.7–24.5).

Discussion

Our results, although based on a cross-sectional design, support the potential role of neuroticism and low self-esteem in the onset of ED. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 31: 261–273, 2002; DOI 10.1002/eat.10040