A vicious cycle among cognitions and behaviors enhancing risk for eating disorders
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© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Establishing the sequence in which risk factors for eating disorders (ED) emerge would enable more effective ED prevention. Thus, in our study we investigated reciprocal and indirect associations between three cognitive and behavioral ED determinants (appearance orientation, appearance worries, and dieting) emphasized in the transdiagnostic model of ED. Methods: Data were collected in a non-clinical group of adolescents at Time 1 (T1),and then 2-months (Time 2, T2) and 13-months later(Time 3, T3). Participants (N=1260) aged 13-19 completed a questionnaire encompassing their nutrition behaviors, beliefs about appearance, health and well-being. Weight and height were measured objectively. Results: Higher levels of appearance orientation (T1) were associated with higher levels of appearance worries (T2) which in turn predicted dieting (T3). Dieting (T1) predicted higher levels of appearance orientation (T2) which in turn predicted higher levels of appearance worries (T3). Higher levels of appearance worries (T1) were associated with higher levels of appearance orientation (T2) which in turn predicted dieting (T3). Also, higher levels of appearance worries (T1) were associated with dieting (T2), and higher levels of appearance orientation (T3). Conclusions: The three transdiagnostic model variables formed a vicious cycle. Therefore, higher levels of one of ED determinants (appearance orientation, appearance worries or dieting) increase the likelihood of the elevated levels of two other ED determinants at follow-ups and thus enhances the risk for ED.
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