Health  Vol.7 No.10 , October 2015
Childhood Adversities Associated with Eating Disorders Reported by Adults
Abstract: Background: It has been suggested that childhood events increase the risk of suffering from an eating disorder (ED) in adolescence or young adulthood. Our study here aimed at investigating whether there was an association between stressful childhood events and eating disorders later in life. Methods: Our population-based study was a part of the HeSSup (The Health and Social Support) postal survey in 2003, a follow-up survey with a random sample of working-aged subjects drawn from the Finnish Population Register in 1998. Participants in this study reported having been suffering from ED (N = 374), while controls (N = 18,639) reported no history of eating disorder in the questionnaire both in 1998 and 2003. The questionnaire included six questions related to childhood adversities. Results: Each childhood stressor increased the risk of developing ED cumulatively (one adversity OR 1.7 versus all six OR 8.3). Intrafamiliar conflicts (OR 2.0), being afraid of a family member (OR 1.5) or long-term illnesses in the family (OR 1.4) increased the ED-risk statistical significantly. Conclusion: Children exposed to stress are more likely to suffer from eating disorders as adults than those not exposed.
Cite this paper: Sillanpää, V. , Mattila, K. and Sumanen, M. (2015) Childhood Adversities Associated with Eating Disorders Reported by Adults. Health, 7, 1327-1336. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.710147.

[1]   Hoek, H.W. and van Hoeken, D. (2003) Review of the Prevalence and Incidence of Eating Disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 34, 383-396.

[2]   Hudson, J.I., Hiripi, E., Pope Jr., H.G. and Kessler, R.C. (2007) The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in the National Comorbity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61, 348-358.

[3]   Mitchell, A.M. and Bulik, C.M. (2006) Eating Disorders and Women’s Health: An Update. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 51, 193-201.

[4]   Smink, F.R., van Hoeken, D. and Hoek, H.W. (2012) Epidemiology of Eating Disorders: Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality Rates. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14, 406-414.

[5]   Hoek, H.W. (2006) Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality of Anorexia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 19, 389-394.

[6]   Gordon, K.H., Castro, Y., Sitnikov, L. and Holm-Denoma, J.M. (2010) Cultural Body Shape Ideals and Eating Disorder Symptoms among White, Latina, and Black College Women. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 135-143.

[7]   Gard, M.C. and Freeman, C.P. (1996) The Dismantling of a Myth: A Review of Eating Disorders and Socioeconomic Status. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 20, 1-12.<1::AID-EAT1>3.0.CO;2-M

[8]   Holland, L.A., Bodell, L.P. and Keel, P.K. (2013) Psychological Factors Predict Eating Disorder Onset and Maintenance at 10-Year Follow-Up. European Eating Disorders Review, 21, 405-410.

[9]   Dalle, G.R. (2011) Eating Disorders: Progress and Challenges. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 22, 153-160.

[10]   Chapman, D.P., Whitfield, C.L., Felitti, V.J., Dupe, S.R., Edwards, V.J. and Anda, R.F. (2004) Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Depressive Disorders in Adulthood. Journal of Affective Disorders, 82, 217-225.

[11]   Jokela, M., Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L., Kivimaki, M., Puttonen, S., Elovainio, M., Rontu, R. and Lehtimaki, T. (2007) Serotonin Receptor 2A Gene and the Influence of Childhood Maternal Nurturance on Adulthood Depressive Symptoms. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 356-360.

[12]   Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V., Koss, M.P. and Marks, J.S. (1998) Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14, 245-258.

[13]   Dinwiddie, S., Heath, A.C., Dunne, M.P., Bucholz, K.K., Madden, P.A., Slutske, W.S., Bierut, L.J., Statham, D.B. and Martin, N.G. (2000) Early Sexual Abuse and Lifetime Psychopathology: A Co-Twin-Control Study. Psychological Medicine, 30, 41-52.

[14]   Korkeila, J., Vahtera, J., Korkeila, K., Kivimaki, M., Sumanen, M., Koskenvuo, K. and Koskenvuo, M. (2010) Childhood Adversities as Predictors of Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease. Heart, 96, 298-303.

[15]   Sumanen, M., Rantala, A., Sillanmaki, L. and Mattila, K. (2007) Childhood Adversities Experienced by Working-Age Migraine Patients. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 62, 139-143.

[16]   Wainwright, N.W., Surtees, P.G., Wareham, N.J. and Harrison, B.D.W. (2007) Psychosocial Factors and Asthma in a Community Sample of Older Adults. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 62, 357-361.

[17]   Johnson, J.G., Cohen, P., Kasen, S. and Brook, J.S. (2002) Childhood Adversities Associated with Risk for Eating Disorders or Weight Problems during Adolescence or Early Adult-hood. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 159, 394-400.

[18]   Korkeila, K., Suominen, S., Ahvenainen, J., Ojanlatva, A., Rautava, P., Helenius, H. and Koskenvuo, M. (2001) Non- Response and Related Factors in a Nation-Wide Health Survey. European Journal of Epidemiology, 17, 991-999.

[19]   Suominen, S., Koskenvuo, K., Sillanmaki, L., Vahtera, J., Korkeila, K., Kivimaki, M., Mattila, K.J., Virtanen, P., Sumanen, M., Rautava, P. and Koskenvuo, M. (2012) Non-Response in a Nationwide Follow-Up Postal Survey in Finland: A Register-Based Mortality Analysis of Respondents and Non-Respondents of the Health and Social Support (HeSSup) Study. BMJ Open, 2, e000657.

[20]   Beck, A.T., Ward, C.H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J. and Erbaugh, J. (1961) An Inventory for Measuring Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561-571.

[21]   Gowers, S.G., North, C.D., Byrum, V. and Waever, A.B. (1995) Life Event Precipitants of Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 37, 469-477.

[22]   Kotler, L.A., Cohen, P., Davies, M., Pine, D.S. and Walsh, B.T. (2001) Longitudinal Relationships between Childhood, Adolescent, and Adult Eating Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 1434-1440.

[23]   Hafstad, G.S., von Soest, T. and Torgersen, L. (2013) Early Childhood Precursors for Eating Problems in Adolescence: A 15-Year Longitudinal Community Study. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1, 35.

[24]   Fuemmeler, B.F., Dedert, E., McClernon, F.J. and Beckham, J.C. (2009) Adverse Childhood Events Are Associated with Obesity and Disordered Eating: Results from a US Population-Based Survey of Young Adults. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 329-333.

[25]   Keski-Rahkonen, A., Hoek, H.W., Susser, E.S., Linna, M.S., Sihvola, E., Raevuori, A., Bulik, C.M., Kaprio, J. and Rissanen, A. (2007) Epidemiology and Course of Anorexia Nervosa in the Community. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 1259-1265.

[26]   Keski-Rahkonen, A., Raevuori, A., Bulik, C.M., Hoek, H.W., Sihvola, E., Kaprio, J. and Rissanen, A. (2013) Depression and Drive for Thinness are Associated with Persistent Bulimia Nervosa in the Community. European Eating Disorders Review, 21, 121-129.

[27]   Gunnar, M. and Quevedo, K. (2007) The Neurobiology of Stress and Development. Psychology—Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 145-173.

[28]   Epel, E.S., Blackburn, E.H., Lin, J., Dhabhar, F.S., Adler, N.E., Morrow, J.D. and Cawthon, R.M. (2004) Accelerated Telomere Shortening in Response to Life Stress. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101, 17312-17315.