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Childhood Sexual Abuse and Eating Disorder Symptomatology

23 July 2009


In order to manage the distress that is often associated with a history of sexual abuse, children may employ maladaptive behaviors as coping skills. It is hypothesized that children with histories of sexual abuse will report more self-injurious behavior and more binge-eating and purging behaviors than non-abused children. The sample consisted of 323 children who were admitted to a local clinic for disordered eating. Severity of disordered eating behaviors was assessed with a parent self-report measure. Results did not indicate a significant difference between children who reported a history of sexual abuse and those who did not in terms of eating behaviors. However, children who reported a history of sexual abuse reported self-injurious behavior more often than non-abused children. Furthermore, children with a history of self-injury reported more frequent disordered eating behaviors than children without this history.


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