Examine how eating disorder (ED) correlates, ED-related clinical impairment, general psychopathology, and ED diagnoses differ across weight statuses in a sample of university women with EDs.
Participants were 690 women from 28 U.S. universities who screened positive for an ED (with the exception of anorexia nervosa [AN]) and participated in the Healthy Body Image Program study. ED correlates, ED-related clinical impairment, general psychopathology (i.e., depression and anxiety), and ED diagnoses were compared across weight statuses (i.e., healthy weight, overweight, obesity) using analyses of variance and chi-square tests.
Women with EDs and overweight or obesity had higher levels of, perceived benefit of thinness, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and weight/shape concerns (obesity only) than those with healthy weight (ps ≤ .017). Compared to those with healthy weight, those with obesity had higher rates of clinical and sub-clinical binge eating disorder and lower rates of bulimia nervosa (p < .001).
Overweight and obesity in individuals with EDs, excluding AN, are associated with greater severity of ED correlates, ED-related clinical impairment, and co-morbid general psychopathology. The current study highlights the need to consider weight status in ED treatment and for optimization of ED treatments to address shared risk factors between EDs and overweight and obesity.