Published Papers - Abstract 3

Kenardy J & Ball K. Disordered eating, weight dissatisfaction and dieting in relation to unwanted childhood sexual experiences in a community sample. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 1998; 44(3/4): 327-337

A study was conducted to examine the relationships among eating pathology, weight dissatisfaction and dieting, and unwanted sexual experiences in childhood. An unselected community sample of 201 young and 268 middle-aged women were administered questionnaires assessing eating behaviours and attitudes, and past and current sexual abuse. Results showed differential relationships among these factors for the two age cohorts: for young women, past sexual abuse predicted weight dissatisfaction, but not dieting or disordered eating behaviours, whereas for middle-aged women, past abuse was predictive of disordered eating, but not dieting or weight dissatisfaction. Current physical or sexual abuse was also found to be predictive of disordered eating for the young women. These findings underscore the complexity of the relationships among unwanted sexual experiences and eating and weight pathology, and suggest that the timing of sexual abuse, and the age of the woman, are important mediating factors.