The Association Between Weight Discrepancies, Thoughts About Eating, and Eating Disorders Symptoms in Adolescence
K. Zarychta1, U. Scholz2, I Pawlowska3, A. Luszczynska1,4
1University of Social Sciences and Humanities, CARE-BEH Center for Applied Research on Health Behavior and Health, Wroclaw, Poland
2University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland3University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland
4University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA
Background: The study investigated whether automatic thoughts about eating mediated the effects of body weight discrepancies on eating disorders (ED) formation and whether weight discrepancies mediated the effects of thoughts about eating on ED formation in non-clinical population. Methods: Late adolescents (N = 55; age 15-18) filled out the SCOFF and the Eating Disorder Thoughts Questionnaire, answered questions about actual and ideal weight, and their body weight was measured objectively at three points with 2- and 12-month intervals between Time 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Findings: The negative thoughts about eating (T2) are mediating the relation between weight discrepancies (T1) and symptoms of ED (T3). Furthermore, the association between negative thoughts (T1) and ED symptoms (T3) was mediated by weight discrepancies (T2). The negative thoughts and weight discrepancies form a vicious circle, related to ED symptoms. Discussion: The findings shed new light on main tasks of the ED prevention, which should focus on adolescents who manifest high levels of negative thoughts about eating and large weight discrepancies, as they are at risk for developing ED symptoms.