Eating disturbance and sexual trauma in childhood and adulthood

Stephen A. Wonderlich, Ross D. Crosby, James E. Mitchell, Kevin M. Thompson, Jennifer Redlin, Gail Demuth, Joshua Smyth, Beth Haseltine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study examined the relationship between sexual trauma and eating disorder behavior, taking into account the effects of developmental stage of the victims and the effects of multiple sexual assaults. Method: Four groups of adult women took part in this study. Subjects were either victims of childhood sexual abuse, victims of rape in adulthood, victims of both childhood sexual abuse and rape, and controls who were not traumatized sexually. All subjects were assessed with semistructured interviews and self-report inventories that assessed eating disorder behavior, general psychopathology, and impulsivity. Results: Victims of childhood sexual abuse differed from controls on measures of eating disorder behavior and individuals who had experienced both childhood sexual abuse and rape in adulthood were most likely to display eating disorder-related psychopathology. Victims of childhood sexual abuse also distinguished themselves with high levels of eating disorder behavior plus multiple forms of impulsive self-destructive behavior. Discussion: This study provides additional support for the association between childhood sexual abuse and eating disorder behavior. Childhood sexual abuse may be particularly linked to the presence of binge eating behavior and several other forms of impulsive self-destructive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-412
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 24 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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