Pathways mediating sexual abuse and eating disturbance in children
Article first published online: 16 MAR 2001
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 270–279, April 2001
How to Cite
Wonderlich, S., Crosby, R., Mitchell, J., Thompson, K., Redlin, J., Demuth, G. and Smyth, J. (2001), Pathways mediating sexual abuse and eating disturbance in children. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 29: 270–279. doi: 10.1002/eat.1018
- Issue published online: 16 MAR 2001
- Article first published online: 16 MAR 2001
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 NOV 2000
- sexual abuse;
- eating disorders;
To examine the relationship between childhood maltreatment and eating disorders in a sample of children.
Twenty 10–15-year-old female children who were receiving treatment following reported childhood sexual abuse and 20 age-matched controls were compared on a series of measures assessing eating disorder behaviors, body image concerns, substance use, mood, impulsive behavior, and self-concept.
Sexually abused children reported higher levels of eating disorder behaviors, impulsive behaviors, and drug abuse than controls. Furthermore, behavioral impulsivity provided the strongest mediational effect between a history of childhood sexual abuse and purging and restrictive dieting behavior. Drug use proved to be a significant secondary mediator of the childhood sexual abuse eating disorder behavior association.
These data support the hypothesis that childhood sexual abuse is related to disordered eating in children, and extend similar findings that have been previously reported with adults. Behavioral impulsivity and drug use appear to be significant mechanisms that influence eating disorder behavior following childhood sexual abuse. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 29: 270–279, 2001.