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Psychiatry Res. 2008 May 30;159(1-2):86-94. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2005.07.040. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Eating disorders among professional fashion models.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy. apreti@tin.it

Abstract

Fashion models are thought to be at an elevated risk for eating disorders, but few methodologically rigorous studies have explored this assumption. We have investigated the prevalence of eating disorders in a group of 55 fashion models born in Sardinia, Italy, comparing them with a group of 110 girls of the same age and of comparable social and cultural backgrounds. The study was based on questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, to reduce the bias due to symptom under-reporting and to social desirability responding. When compared on three well-validated self-report questionnaires (the EAT, BITE, BAT), the models and controls did not differ significantly. However, in a detailed interview (the Eating Disorder Examination), models reported significantly more symptoms of eating disorders than controls, and a higher prevalence of partial syndromes of eating disorders was found in models than in controls. A body mass index below 18 was found for 34 models (54.5%) as compared with 14 controls (12.7%). Three models (5%) and no controls reported an earlier clinical diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. Further studies will be necessary to establish whether the slight excess of partial syndromes of eating disorders among fashion models was a consequence of the requirement in the profession to maintain a slim figure or if the fashion modeling profession is preferably chosen by girls already oriented towards symptoms of eating disorders, since the pressure to be thin imposed by this profession can be more easily accepted by people predisposed to eating disorders.

PMID:
18355925
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2005.07.040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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