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Disordered eating following exposure to television and internet coverage of the March 2011 japan earthquake

Authors

  • Rachel F. Rodgers PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Centre d'Etude et de Recherches en Psychopathologie, Université Toulouse-2, Toulouse, France
    3. Laboratoire de Stress Traumatique, Université de Toulouse & CHU de Toulouse, Toulouse, France
    • Centre d'Etude et de Recherches en Psychopathologie, Université Toulouse-2, Toulouse, France
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  • Debra L. Franko PhD,

    1. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Alain Brunet PhD,

    1. McGill University & Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Christophe F. Herbert MA,

    1. McGill University & Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Eric Bui MD, PhD

    1. Laboratoire de Stress Traumatique, Université de Toulouse & CHU de Toulouse, Toulouse, France
    2. Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Supported by Toulouse University Hospital, Association Traumapsy, and Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec.

Abstract

Objective:

To prospectively explore the relationship between exposure to potentially distressing news content and disordered eating.

Method:

Within 2 weeks of the March 3, 2011 Japan earthquake, an online survey was conducted among non-Japanese adults in distant countries (N = 698) assessing time spent on TV and the internet watching the news as well as peritraumatic reactions to the news and sleep disturbance. Participants were invited to complete a followup survey two months later [n = 113, mean age (SD) = 38.8 (11.91), 73% female] reporting on eating disorder symptoms.

Results:

Exposure to TV and, to a lesser extent, internet coverage of the Japan disaster were associated with disordered eating, in particular dieting and oral control, as measured by the eating attitudes test. Peritraumatic reactions and sleep disturbance displayed specific patterns of association with disordered eating.

Discussion:

Exposure to media coverage of distant disasters may be associated with increased disordered eating. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012;45:845–849)

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