Patterns of compensatory behaviors and disordered eating in college students

Katherine Schaumberg, Lisa M. Anderson, Erin Reilly, Drew A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study investigated rates of endorsement of eating-related compensatory behaviors within a college sample. Participants: This sample included male and female students (N = 1,158). Methods: Participants completed the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). The study defined 3 groups of students: those who did not endorse purging behaviors, those who endorsed only exercise, and those who endorsed laxative use or vomiting. Rates of related eating disorder risk variables were compared across the 3 groups. Results: Almost half of college students reported utilizing exercise as a compensatory strategy over the past 28 days. Those reporting compensatory exercise did not differ from other community and college samples on EDE-Q subscales. Conclusions: Findings suggest that college students report significant rates of compensatory exercise, and those who report exercise as their only compensatory behavior also report relatively low levels of eating disorder risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-533
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Eating disorders
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition


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