Binge and purge behavior among adolescents: associations with sexual and physical abuse in a nationally representative sample: the Commonwealth Fund survey.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To examine associations between binge and purge behavior and sexual and physical abuse among adolescents; (2) to determine if these associations remain significant after controlling for sociodemographic and anthropometric characteristics; and (3) to identify aspects of abuse associated with binge and purge behavior. METHOD: A nationally representative sample of 6728 adolescents in 5th-12th grades completed the Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls and Boys. RESULTS: Binge and purge behavior was nearly twice as prevalent among girls (13%) as boys (7%), and was significantly associated with all abuse types (physical, sexual, or both). Associations were strongest among individuals who had experienced both physical and sexual abuse [odds ratios 4.28 (girls) and 8.25 (boys)]. Differences in binge and purge behavior by gender and type of abuse across abuse characteristics were limited. A higher percentage of abused youth that did not discuss their abuse reported binge-purge behavior than those who did discuss their abuse. Abused girls and boys who did talk to someone about the abuse most often discussed the abuse with their best friend (42.5% and 18.0%, respectively), their mother (38.8% and 32.2%, respectively), and their friends (27.2% and 19.5%, respectively). DISCUSSION: Being physically and/or sexually abused was associated with greater likelihood for engaging in binge and purge behaviors. Discussing the abuse experience with another person may help to reduce binge-purge behavior, as abused adolescents who did not discuss the abuse were more likely to report binge-purge behavior than those who did discuss their abuse.
Ackard, DM; Neumark-Sztainer, D; Hannan, PJ; French, S; Story, M
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