Reciprocal longitudinal relations between weight/shape concern and comorbid pathology among women at very high risk for eating disorder onset

Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft*, Dawn M. Eichen, Andrea E. Kass, Mickey Trockel, Ross D. Crosby, C. Barr Taylor, Denise E. Wilfley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Understanding how known eating disorder (ED) risk factors change in relating to one another over time may inform efficient intervention targets. We examined short-term (i.e., 1 month) reciprocal longitudinal relations between weight/shape concern and comorbid symptoms (i.e., depressed mood, anxiety) and behaviors (i.e., binge drinking) over the course of 24 months using cross-lagged panel models. Methods: Participants were 185 women aged 18–25 years at very high risk for ED onset, randomized to an online ED preventive intervention or waitlist control. We also tested whether relations differed based on intervention receipt. Results: Weight/shape concern in 1 month significantly predicted depressed mood the following month; depressed mood in 1 month also predicted weight/shape concern the following month, but the effect size was smaller. Likewise, weight/shape concern in 1 month significantly predicted anxiety the following month, but the reverse was not true. Results showed no temporal relations between weight/shape concern and binge drinking in either direction. Relations between weight/shape concern, and comorbid symptoms and behaviors did not differ based on intervention receipt. Conclusions: Results support focusing intervention on reducing weight/shape concern over reducing comorbid constructs for efficient short-term change. Level of evidence: Level I, evidence obtained from a properly designed randomized controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1189-1198
Number of pages10
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Keywords

  • College-age women
  • Comorbidity
  • Eating disorder
  • Weight/shape concern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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