An exploratory study of predisposing factors for eating disorders in adolescent girls
Research efforts in the area of eating disorders have been numerous and varied. However, few studies have investigated the existence of specific predisposing factors that could render a young female adolescent more susceptible to developing an eating disorder. The present study was attempted in an effort to fill this knowledge gap. One hundred and fifty nine, 12 to 14 year old female students not known as having an eating disorder, were surveyed at a public school in Roanoke County, Virginia. The participants were asked to complete four different instruments which were: The Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, the Children's Assertiveness Inventory, the Nutrition Questionnaire designed by the researchers and the Eating Disorder Inventory or EDl. Correlational statistics were used to identify any significant relationships between the first three instruments and the ED!. Significant relationships were identified, suggesting the existence of specific factors related to tendencies toward eating disorders as assessed by the EDI.
Among these factors were: poor self-concept and body image, obesity and weight problems, active interest or involvement in dieting as well as certain familial behaviors. The results of this research effort will hopefully be used in designing educational programs for the prevention of eating disorders, as well as for enhancing the detection of these disorders. Further research needs will also be suggested.