Study Ties Teen Eating Disorders to Increased Risk of Suicide
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2013 Jul 23
A new study finds teens who display binge eating behavior are actually at an increased risk of considering suicide as they turn their emotions inward.
The study was conducted by Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, and was published in the journal Prevention Science.
In the western culture, a lot of emphasis is put on appearance and it is not surprising to note that numerous young girls and women suffer from eating behavior problems. Binge eating was something most girls resorted to when disturbed, the study noted. This kind of behavior often leads to further distress, shame and embarrassment.
For this study, the team evaluated how depressive and anxious symptoms may be a factor in binge eating and suicidal behavior. They conducted a study on 313 black females between the ages of 6 and 17 and followed them for 11 years.
To examine the level of anxiety, depression, views on their physical appearance and eating disorders, the researchers conducted interviews with teachers, parents and the child. They also kept a track of those who reported suicidal tendencies when the study was conducted.
They noticed that girls who were dissatisfied with their physical appearance often suffered from both depressive and anxious symptoms in adolescence. This in turn led to binge eating. Those adolescent girls who displayed more binge eating behavior reported a greater number of suicide attempts.