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Psychol Bull. 2002 Sep;128(5):825-48.

Risk and maintenance factors for eating pathology: a meta-analytic review.

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  • 1University of Texas at Austin, Department of Psychology, 78712, USA.


This meta-analytic review of prospective and experimental studies reveals that several accepted risk factors for eating pathology have not received empirical support (e.g., sexual abuse) or have received contradictory support (e.g.. dieting). There was consistent support for less-accepted risk factors(e.g., thin-ideal internalization) as well as emerging evidence for variables that potentiate and mitigate the effects of risk factors(e.g., social support) and factors that predict eating pathology maintenance(e.g., negative affect). In addition, certain multivariate etiologic and maintenance models received preliminary support. However, the predictive power of individual risk and maintenance factors was limited, suggesting it will be important to search for additional risk and maintenance factors, develop more comprehensive multivariate models, and address methodological limitations that attenuate effects.

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