Preadolescent disordered eating predicts subsequent eating dysfunction

Jessica L. Combs, Carolyn M. Pearson, Tamika C.B. Zapolski, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This article tested whether disordered eating in the spring of sixth grade can be predicted by the behaviors of fifth grade elementary school children. Method: Measurements of disordered eating were collected from 1906 children (mean age = 10.86 years) at Time 1 (spring of fifth grade), Time 2 (fall of sixth grade), and Time 3 (spring of sixth grade). Results: A number of fifth grade children reported disordered eating during the previous 2 weeks: 12.1% reported objective binge episodes, 4.8% reported purging food, and 9.8% reported restricting food intake. These behaviors predicted disordered eating during the spring of sixth grade. In addition, fifth grade pubertal onset predicted higher levels of restricting for girls. Conclusion: A substantial number of fifth grade children reported disordered eating behaviors, and these behaviors predicted disordered eating behaviors in the spring of sixth grade. Disordered eating can be studied at least as early as fifth grade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by NIAAA grant ROIAA016166 to Gregory T. Smith, PhD.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Eating disorder
  • Longitudinal
  • Puberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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