Predictors of initiation and persistence of recurrent binge eating and inappropriate weight compensatory behaviors in college men

Antonios Dakanalis, Massimo Clerici, Manuela Caslini, Santino Gaudio, Silvia Serino, Giuseppe Riva, Giuseppe Carrà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The transition to college is considered as a risk period for the development of behavioral symptoms of eating disorders (BSEDs) and some evidence suggests that, amongst men, these symptoms occurring on a regular basis remain relatively stable over the college period. Nevertheless, little is known about factors associated with persistent engagement in and initiation of recurrent (or regular) binge eating and inappropriate weight compensatory behaviors in this population. The objective of this report was to address these research gaps. Method: Data were examined from 2,555 male first-year college students who completed an assessment of potential vulnerability factors and BSEDs at the beginning of the autumn semester (baseline) and nine months later (end of the spring semester; follow-up). Results: Elevated negative affectivity, body dissatisfaction, self-objectification, and lower self-esteem at baseline were predictive of persistent engagement in regular binge eating and four compensatory behaviors (self-induced vomiting, laxative/diuretic abuse, fasting, exercise) at follow-up, as well as initiation of all these behaviors occurring regularly (i.e., at least weekly for 3 months). Self-objectification (thinking and monitoring the body's outward appearance from a third-person perspective) emerged as the largest contributor of both the initiation and persistence of all behavioral symptoms. Discussion: Data emphasize that the same psychological factors underlie initiation and persistence of recurrent BSEDs and should shape the focus of future interventions for college men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • binge eating
  • compensatory behaviors
  • maintenance
  • men
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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