Objective: This study investigated the use and frequency of multiple methods of compensatory behaviors and how they relate to eating-related and general psychopathology for youth with eating disorders (ED).
Method: Participants were 398 referrals to a pediatric ED treatment program (91.2% female; M age = 14.9 ± 2.2). ANOVA and chi-square tests compared participants reporting multiple methods of compensatory behaviors, single method of compensatory behaviors, and no compensatory behaviors on measures of ED and general psychopathology. Partial correlations examined associations between compensatory behavior, frequency and severity of ED and general psychopathology.
Results: Participants reporting multiple methods of compensatory behaviors had significantly greater ED and general psychopathology than the other groups (ps < .001). Frequency of compensatory behaviors was associated with ED psychopathology (partial r = .14; p = .007) but not with general psychopathology.
Discussion: Engaging in multiple methods of compensatory behaviors is related to greater ED and general psychopathology, whereas frequency is only related to greater ED symptom severity.
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