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A comparison of clinical characteristics between adolescent males and females with eating disorders
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Pediatrics.
2015 (English)In: BMC Psychiatry, ISSN 1471-244X, Vol. 15, 45Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Eating disorders (ED) are serious disorders that have a negative impact on both the psychological and the physiological well-being of the afflicted. Despite the fact that ED affect both genders, males are often underrepresented in research and when included the sample sizes are often too small for separate analyses. Consequently we have an unclear and sometimes contradictory picture of the clinical characteristics of males with ED. The aim of the present study was to improve our understanding of the clinical features of adolescent males with eating disorders. Methods: We compared age at presentation, weight at presentation, history of significantly different premorbid weight and psychiatric (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)) and somatic comorbidity (celiac disease and diabetes) of 58 males to 606 females seeking medical care for eating disorders at the Children's Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden during the years 1999-2012. As all boys were diagnosed with either AN or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) atypical AN, the age and weight comparisons were limited to those girls fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for AN or OSFED atypical AN. Results: There was no significant difference in age at presentation. Differences in weight at presentation and premorbid weight history were mixed. A significantly higher percentage of males had a history of a BMI greater than two standard deviations above the mean for their corresponding age group. As well, there was a higher prevalence of ADHD among the males whereas celiac disease and diabetes only was found among the females. Conclusions: A better understanding of the clinical characteristics of males with ED at presentation should improve our ability to identify males with ED and thereby aid in tailoring the best treatment alternatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, 45
Keyword [en]
Clinical characteristics, Adolescent, Male, Anorexia nervosa, Eating disorders
National Category
Pediatrics Psychiatry
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251426DOI: 10.1186/s12888-015-0419-8ISI: 000351200200001OAI: diva2:807372
Available from: 2015-04-23 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2015-04-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Eating Disorders: Steps Towards an Increased Understanding
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Eating Disorders: Steps Towards an Increased Understanding
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Eating disorders and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors are characterized by an over-evaluation of weight and shape, under or over-controlled eating, as well as engagement in compensatory behaviors. The disorders are associated with psychological suffering, acute and long-term health impairments, a high rate of suicide attempts as well as an increased risk of mortality. Knowledge regarding the etiology of eating disorders is limited and based on current models it is not possible to adequately predict either who will get an eating disorder or who will recover. This lack of understanding has hindered the development of effective prevention and treatment interventions.

The aim of the present thesis was to contribute towards an increased understanding of eating disorders and disordered eating attitudes and behavior through the collection of norms and psychometric data, investigation of risk factors and their roles, and focusing on the understudied group of males with eating disorders. Five studies were included. Specifically, Study I focused on collecting general population and clinical norms on the well-established Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) and the Clinical Impairment Assessment Questionnaire (CIA). Study II both collected general population norms on, and investigated psychometric properties of, the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ-8C), an instrument intended to assess body dissatisfaction. Study III focused on the role of perfectionism (an established risk factor for eating disorders) as a possible mediator or moderator between body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behavior and attitudes. Finally, in Study IV and V attention was placed on males. In Study IV the specific aim was to compare the clinical characteristics between young males and females with eating disorders while in study V the specific aim was to explore variables associated with disordered eating among young males based on a compilation of factors known to play a role among females as well as factors thought to be uniquely associated with males, such as sexual orientation and drive for muscularity. A greater understanding of eating disorders will help reduce the stigma that is associated with eating disorders, easing the way for affected individuals to seek help and ultimately improve the development of effective prevention and intervention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 74 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 95
Eating disorders, disordered eating, norms, perfectionism, mediator, moderator, males
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-220951 (URN)978-91-554-8917-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-16, Betty Pettersson-salen, von Kraemers Allé 1A, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-03-24 Last updated: 2015-04-23

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