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Eat Behav. 2013 Apr;14(2):157-60. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2013.01.015. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Relationship between eating pathology, body dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms among male and female adolescents in the United Arab Emirates.

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Department of International Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, American University of Sharjah, P.O. Box: 26666, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.


Research in the field of eating disorders remains limited in the Arab world. The cross-sectional study addressed this gap by examining eating disturbances and related problem behaviors among 361 (284 females, 77 males) undergraduates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Standardized measures were used to assess the relationship between symptoms of eating pathology, body dissatisfaction and depression. Three quarters (73%) of the sample indicated body dissatisfaction (78% of females, 58% of males) and 20% scored above the clinical cutoff on the eating pathology scale (20% of females, 22% of males). Depressive symptomatology predicted significantly higher levels of eating pathology in both genders. The findings highlight that eating disturbances and body dissatisfaction are of concern among adolescents in the UAE. Local eating disorders prevention strategies should address the needs of both females and males and consider potential depressive co-morbidity.

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