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Eating disorders behaviours and diagnoses: epidemiology and comorbidity in the general population

Solmi, F; (2014) Eating disorders behaviours and diagnoses: epidemiology and comorbidity in the general population. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Studies investigating prevalence and comorbidity of eating disorders (ED) and disordered eating in large general population samples are limited. This thesis adds to the existing literature by employing general population studies to investigate prevalence and comorbidity of disordered eating and ED in adults and adolescents. Secondary aims were to explore occurrence of ED in relation to ethnicity and patterns of service use. Methods: The studies included in this thesis employed three general population samples of adults (UK) and adolescents (UK and Finland) to cross-sectionally investigate the prevalence of ED and disordered eating, and their comorbidity with several psychiatric conditions. Results: Disordered eating was highly prevalent amongst adults, especially amongst those from an ethnic minority background, and in overweight to obese individuals. Prevalence of ED was in line with previous studies although we found a high prevalence of binge eating disorder and purging disorder amongst older and younger participants, respectively. Use of purging practices was highly prevalent amongst adolescent girls, and was associated with high levels of psychiatric comorbidity. Amongst adults, those diagnosed with purging disorder had the greatest psychiatric comorbidity. Conclusions: High prevalence of disordered eating in the general population, in specific ethnic groups, and in obese individuals, suggests the presence of socio-cultural risk factors for ED. Heightened risk-taking attitudes proper of adolescence could also act as specific risk factors for onset of purging behaviours and other comorbid conditions, such as substance use. Risk trajectories for binge eating disorder in older individuals require further exploration. Results from this thesis highlight the need for comprehensive approaches to treatment and prevention of ED in clinical practice. In the future more longitudinal research in the general population is also encouraged in order to explore the interaction between biological and societal risk factors for the onset of ED and disordered eating.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Eating disorders behaviours and diagnoses: epidemiology and comorbidity in the general population
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Eating Disorders, epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427915
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