Developmental pathways of eating problems in adolescents




To examine the developmental eating trajectories of adolescents and identify psychological correlates and risk factors associated with those trajectories.


Seven hundred thirty-nine adolescents completed self-reported measures of eating problems, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, alcohol and drug use, peer victimization, and depression.


Five eating trajectories were obtained. The proportions of males and females were the same in the increasing eating problems trajectory. For both genders, internalizing and externalizing problems were identified as associated risk factors of an eating pathology and reporting at least some eating problems was associated with an increased likelihood of psychological problems. Other risk factors found only in boys were frequency of drug use, victimization, and depressive symptoms.


Externalizing problems in girls and internalizing behaviors in boys with disordered eating should not be overlooked. Atypical eating behaviors in boys are of particular concern since it increases their risk of cooccurring psychopathology. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008