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Eat Weight Disord. 2019 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00759-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Help-seeking for body image problems among adolescents with eating disorders: findings from the EveryBODY study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, Balaclava Road, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia. scott.fatt@mq.edu.au.
2
Human Behaviour Lab, Department of Psychiatry, UNSW, Sydney, Australia. scott.fatt@mq.edu.au.
3
Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia.
4
School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.
5
Department of Psychology, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, Balaclava Road, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia.
6
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
7
Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
8
Translational Health Research Institute, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Little is known regarding correlates of help-seeking for a body image problem in adolescents with an eating disorder. This study provides the first population-based investigation of help-seeking correlates among adolescents with an eating disorder.

METHODS:

Australian adolescents (N = 1002, 75.5% female, mean age = 15.14, SD = 1.40) who met operational diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder completed a survey assessing help-seeking, and potential correlates of help-seeking (sex, age, body mass index, socio-economic status, migrant status, sexuality, eating disorder diagnosis, psychological distress, and quality of life).

RESULTS:

Only 10.1% of participants reported having sought help. Bivariate analyses revealed that increased likelihood of help-seeking was associated with female sex, sexual minority status, being born outside Australia, older age, having a major eating disorder (compared to having an unspecified or other specified feeding or other eating disorder diagnosis), higher psychological distress, and reduced psychological and social functioning. Older age, being born outside of Australia, and having a major eating disorder were significant independent correlates of help-seeking.

CONCLUSIONS:

Very few adolescents with an eating disorder seek help for a body image problem. Promoting early, appropriate help-seeking among those who are younger and/or those with less well-known disorders may be particularly important.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level III, case-control analytic study.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent; Body image; Eating disorder; Help-seeking

PMID:
31376110
DOI:
10.1007/s40519-019-00759-9

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