Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2001 Volume 12, Number 4
©2001 Gürze Books
Teens who encounter unwanted sexual advances or violence during dating have an increased risk of turning to abnormal dieting afterward, according to a recent study at the University of North Dakota (Int J Eat Disord 2001:29:166).
A total of 2,629 girls in grades 9-12 at 40 schools in North Dakota completed voluntary and anonymous, usable questionnaires about dating violence, unwanted sexual advances, purging, and use of diet pills. About 10% of the girls reported using purging behavior, and 12% reported using diet pills during the past 30 days. Fourteen percent of the girls had experienced a violent dating situation or unwanted sexual contact. In similar studies, sexual contact rate ranged from 16% to 33%.
The odds of purging were 3 to 4 times higher for girls who reported a violent sexual incident than for girls who did not report such experiences. Between 20% and 25% of girls who encountered some form of sexual violence also reported purging in the past 30 days. Eighteen to 22% of girls who reported sexual violence had consumed diet pills during the past 30 days. The associations between sexual violence and purging remained significant even after controlling for family environment.