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Eating-disordered behavior in Australian and Singaporean women: A comparative study


  • Jonathan M. Mond PhD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, Australia
    • School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown Campus, Building 24, Penrith South DC Locked Bag 1797, New South Wales 1797, Australia
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  • Anna Chen BA,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Buangkok Green Medical Park, Singapore
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  • Rajeev Kumar MD, FRANZCP, PhD

    1. Academic Unit of Psychiatry, The Canberra Hospital & Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
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Objective and Method

We used the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) to compare the specific eating disorder psychopathology of young adult women in Australia (n = 339) and Singapore (n = 164). All participants completed a brief questionnaire that included the EDE-Q, basic socio-demographic information, and self-reported height and weight.


Overall levels of eating disorder psychopathology, as measured by the EDE-Q global score, were very similar. There were also no differences between groups on the EDE-Q subscales. However, analysis at the item level indicated that Singaporean women were more fearful of losing control over their eating, more fearful of gaining weight or becoming fat, and more anxious at the prospect of regularly weighing themselves, than Australian women. Singaporean women were also more likely to report binge eating and laxative misuse, whereas excessive exercise was more common among Australian women. The findings were unaltered when between-group differences in body weight were statistically controlled.


The findings provide further evidence that levels of eating disorder psychopathology in some Asian countries may be as high as, if not higher than, those of Western nations. Potentially important differences between different cultural groups may be obscured when the assessment of eating disorder psychopathology is confined to summary-type measures. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:717–723