Child and adolescent maltreatment patterns and risk of eating disorder behaviors developing in young adulthood

Hannah N. Ziobrowski, Stephen L. Buka, S. Bryn Austin, Alexis E. Duncan, Melissa Simone, Adam J. Sullivan, Nicholas J. Horton, Alison E. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Child maltreatment may be an important risk factor for eating disorder (ED) behaviors. However, most previous research has been limited to clinical, female, and cross-sectional samples, and has not adequately accounted for complex abuse patterns. Objective: To determine whether women and men with distinct patterns of child and adolescent maltreatment have higher risks of developing ED behaviors in young adulthood than individuals with a low probability of maltreatment. Participants and setting: Data came from 7010 U.S. women and men (95% White) in the Growing Up Today Study, a prospective, community-based cohort study (14 waves between 1996 and 2016). Methods: We used a previously created maltreatment variable that was empirically derived using latent class analysis. Maltreatment groups were characterized as: “no/low abuse,” “child physical abuse,” “adolescent emotional abuse,” “child and adolescent physical and emotional abuse,” and “child and adolescent sexual abuse.” We estimated risk ratios for ED behaviors developing in young adulthood using the modified Poisson approach with generalized estimating equations. We stratified models by sex. Results: Groups characterized by maltreatment had elevated risks of incident ED behaviors compared with the “no/low abuse” group among both women and men. For women, risks tended to be strongest among the “child and adolescent sexual abuse” group. For men, risks tended to be strongest among the “child and adolescent physical and emotional abuse” group. Risks were particularly strong for purging behaviors. Conclusion: Risk of incident ED behaviors in young adulthood varied by distinct maltreatment groups. Detecting maltreatment early may help prevent EDs and subsequent maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105225
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume120
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection was supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health ( MH087786 , DK59570 , DK46200 , HL68041 , HD049889 , DA033974 , HD066963 , OH0098003 ). S.B. Austin is supported by Maternal and Child Health Bureau , Health Resources and Services Administration ( T71MC00009 , T76MC00001 ). The authors would like to thank the thousands of participants in the Growing Up Today Study and their mothers for completing multiple surveys, and the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, for the use of the data.

Funding Information:
Data collection was supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health (MH087786, DK59570, DK46200, HL68041, HD049889, DA033974, HD066963, OH0098003). S.B. Austin is supported by Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (T71MC00009, T76MC00001). The authors would like to thank the thousands of participants in the Growing Up Today Study and their mothers for completing multiple surveys, and the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, for the use of the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Cohort study
  • Complex abuse
  • Disordered eating
  • Epidemiology
  • Longitudinal

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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