Repeated traumatic experiences in eating disorders and their association with eating symptoms

A. Carretero-García, L. Sánchez Planell, E. Doval, J. Rusiñol Estragués, R. M.Raich Escursell, J. Vanderlinden

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9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to analyze the association between traumatic experiences (TEs) and eating symptoms and their severity in a healthy group (HG) of students and an eating disorder group (EDG). METHOD: The HG (N=150) comprised first-and secondyear undergraduate psychology students, the EDG (N=150) day hospital patients. EDG patients were evaluated consecutively when they entered the Day Hospital Eating Disorder Unit. Information on TEs was collected via an ad hoc questionnaire, a semi-structured interview and the first part of The Dissociation Questionnaire (Part I). The Bulimic Investigatory Test Edinburgh was used to evaluate eating symptoms and their severity. RESULTS: Emotional abuse was the most frequent TE in both groups. In the EDG, TEs occurred more in patients with purging behavior (anorexia nervosa of the binge-eating/purging type, AN-P; and bulimia nervosa of the purging type, BN-P) than in those with AN-R (anorexia nervosa of the restricting type). In patients with purging behavior, TEs often begin in childhood and are repeated. When the severity of eating symptoms in patients with EDs who had suffered repeated TEs was compared with those who had suffered an isolated TE, a tendency towards greater severity of eating symptoms associated with TE repetition was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained with respect to the presence and type of TEs in EDs concurred with those of other studies. However, unlike other studies, we found high percentages of childhood TEs in ED subtypes with purging behavior. In these ED subtypes, TEs tended to be more repeated than in ED subtypes with restrictive behavior. Further studies are required to draw conclusions on the effect of the different TEs and their repetition on eating symptoms and their severity. © 2012, Editrice Kurtis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Eating disorders
  • Eating symptoms
  • Traumatic experiences

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