Psychosocial predictors of binge eating and purging behaviors among adolescents with and without diabetes mellitus

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story, Elanah Toporoff, Nadav Cassuto, Michael D. Resnick, Robert Wm Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to compare dieting, binge eating, and purging behaviors, and to examine predictors of binge eating and purging behaviors among adolescents with and without Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Methods: The index group included 310 adolescents who reported that they had DM on a statewide population survey of 36,284 adolescents in grades 7-12 in Minnesota. The comparison group included a random sample matched for socioeconomic status (SES), of 850 adolescents without chronic illness. Disordered eating behaviors assessed in the present study included binge eating, vomiting, laxative use, and diuretic use. Potential predictor variables assessed included weight loss behaviors, body image, sexual abuse, sexual attractions, emotional well-being, family connectedness, poor school performance, age, race, Body Mass Index (BMI), and SES. Results: Binge eating and purging were significantly more prevalent among adolescents with DM than among the comparison group. Different risk profiles were found for adolescents with and without DM and for males and females. Predictors of binge eating and purging among females with DM included weight dissatisfaction, bisexual/homosexual attractions, and younger age. Predictors among males with DM included bisexual/homosexual attractions, younger age, sexual abuse, and an interaction between sexual abuse and emotional well-being. Conclusions: Adolescents with DM should be screened for unhealthy weight control practices and eating disorders. If disordered eating is present, clinicians need to be sensitive to the variety of factors possibly associated with these behaviors among different individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dianne Neumark-Sztainer was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Pediatrics and Adolescent Health at the time of manuscript preparation. This paper was supported in part through a Rehabilitation Research and Training Grant #H133B40019 of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitative Research and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau Grant #MCJ273A0305.


  • Binge eating
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Disordered eating
  • Eating disorders
  • Purging
  • Weight loss

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