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Br J Clin Psychol. 1997 Feb;36 ( Pt 1):41-9.

Bodily shame in relation to abuse in childhood and bulimia: a preliminary investigation.

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Department of Psychology, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK.


Bodily shame has been shown to play a mediating role in the relationship between experiences of childhood physical and sexual abuse and depression in mature women (Andrews, 1995). The current study investigated the role of such shame in the relationship between childhood abuse and bulimia in a community sample of 69 teenage and young adult women. A significant association between bodily shame and childhood abuse was replicated in this younger sample, an association which could not be explained by bodily dissatisfaction. In addition, bodily shame was significantly related to DSM-III bulimia, and this relationship could also not be explained by bodily dissatisfaction. Childhood abuse showed a significant association with bulimia, but this was no longer apparent once bodily shame had been taken into account. The results suggest bodily shame may act as a mediator between early abuse and bulimia, but this requires further confirmation in a longitudinal study.

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