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Eat Behav. 2004 Jan;5(1):1-11.

Gender differences in compensatory behaviors, weight and shape salience, and drive for thinness.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, CB#7160, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160, USA.

Abstract

Gender differences in compensatory behaviors, weight and shape salience, and drive for thinness have rarely been examined in nonclinical samples. The present study examines gender differences in a sample of 1111 male and 1510 female twins responding to a questionnaire on eating attitudes and behaviors. Logistic regression using generalized estimating equations (GEE) tested the extent to which gender could be predicted from compensatory behaviors, weight and shape salience, and drive for thinness. The results indicated that use of compensatory behaviors predicted female gender for all except exercise and "other," where no gender differences were found. Greater importance of weight and shape also predicted female gender, as did drive for thinness. Findings with respect to exercise use and "other" compensatory behaviors have nosological implications for the eating disorders, especially as regards eating disorders in males. These findings suggest that both the nature and function of compensatory behaviors may differ by gender.

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