Relationship Between Childhood Sexual Abuse And Eating Disorder Symptoms

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The Relationship Between Childhood Sexual Abuse and Eating Disorder Symptoms
Mallory Holt
PSYC 401

Some studies have shown a correlation between physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse and eating disorders, but there appears to be no casual link. (Tripp, 2001). Between 30 to 50% of adult women report an unwanted sexual experience in either childhood or adulthood. This paper explores the connection between sexual abuse, specificity during childhood, and eating disorders. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and over exercising. Because of the complex nature, factors such as family interactions, self-esteem, core beliefs, body mass, depression, body image and laxative
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(Jenkins, 2013). The desire for an idealized body shape may develop as a coping mechanism to compensate for an underlying fear of being taken advantage. This fear may have be established due to growing up where abuse occurs. There is some support for the hypothesis that bulimic behaviors act as blocking mechanisms to painful thoughts and experiences.
Emotional abuse predicted drive for thinness, whereas sexual abuse predicted symptoms of bulimia nervosa (BN). Mistrust and abuse beliefs were found to fully mediate relationships between childhood abuse and drive for thinness and bulimia scales. Abandonment beliefs were also shown to be partial mediators of the relationship between sexual abuse and symptoms of BN. In a sample of nonclinical women, beliefs pertaining to abandonment and mistrust or abuse appeared to be important in the explanation of the relationship between recollections of childhood abuse and adult eating disorder symptoms.
Laxative Abuse and Body Image
Research has examined the relationship of physical and sexual abuse and distortion of body image. (Treuer, 2005). 63 patients with eating disorders were interviewed about their experiences of physical and sexual abuse. The Body Attitude Test was also used to examine laxative use and body image. Sexual abuse occurred in 29%, physical abuse occurred in 57% and laxative abuse occurred in 46%. Sexual abuse
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