Teasing: It’s Not Just About Appearance

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April 2008 Volume 19, Number 2
©2008 Gürze Books

Many studies have described the negative effects of teasing about appearance and weight, but few have examined other types of teasing, such as teasing about intelligence or social ability. Dr. Kelly Klump and colleagues at Michigan State University report that the type of teasing may have an effect upon the type of eating disorder that develops. The researchers investigated the influence of both competency-based teasing (CT) and weight-based teasing (WT) on the development of disordered eating among 196 female twins 10 to 14 years of age from the MSU Twin Registry. Self-reports of disordered eating (binge eating, compensatory behaviors, body dissatisfaction, and preoccupation with weight) and CT and WT were examined with regression analyses and hierarchical linear models, to account for the non-independence of the twin data. The results were reported at the Eating Disorders Research Society meeting last fall in Pittsburgh that both CT and WT were significantly associated with all disordered eating subscales. CT showed stronger links to binge eating, whereas WT was more strongly related to body dissatisfaction and weight preoccupation. According to the authors, teasing about appearance and weight is only one way in which teasing is related to disordered eating, and competency-based teasing should be included in future research on the association between teasing and disordered eating patterns.

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