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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Oct;12(5):214-20.

Puberty, sexual development and eating disorders in adolescent outpatients.

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Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Box 607, 33101 Tampere, Finland.


This study examined puberty and psychosexual state in a clinical sample of adolescents attending for assessment because of eating disorders (ED). A total of 57 adolescents (girls) aged 14-21 years (mean age 16.9 years) having either anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN) were studied by semi-structured interviews and structured self-report questionnaires considering the timing of menarche, dating and attitudes to sexuality. The age at menarche did not differ statistically significantly between AN and BN. It was significantly lower in the BN group than in the normal population, but no statistically significant difference was found between the AN group and normal population. The general attitudes to sexuality were more negative in the AN group than in the BN group. In the AN group, there were also fewer dating experiences and interest in dating than in the BN group. After controlling for the effect of age, age at menarche and duration of ED, negative attitudes to sexuality and no dating experiences were still best predicted by AN. The results suggest different ways of coping with the developmental challenges in sexuality in AN and BN during adolescence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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