Better psychological health is associated with weight stability in women with eating disorders

  • A. Darby
  • P. Hay
  • F. Quirk
  • J. Mond
  • P. G. Buettner
  • S. J. Paxton
  • L. Kennedy
Original Research Paper


AIM: To explore the associations between changes in weight, eating disorder psychopathology and psychological distress in a community sample of women with eating disorders over two years. METHOD: One hundred and twenty two women identified with disordered eating in a baseline population survey agreed to participate in a follow-up study, of whom 87 (71%), mean age 28±6.2, completed the two-year follow-up. Body mass index, eating disorder psychopathology, psychological distress, and demographic details were assessed at both time points. RESULTS: Over the two years there was a mean weight gain of 1.76 kg (SD=7.03), 11 (13%) women lost ≧5 kg, 25 (29%) gained ≧5 kg, and 49 (58%) remained weight stable (i.e., within 5 kg of baseline weight). Comparisons between those who had lost, gained and remained weight stable showed few significant differences, however, women who remained weight stable were the least psychologically distressed at baseline and those who lost weight had the greatest reduction in shape concern. Body mass index at baseline, and change in level of binge eating episodes were not associated with weight change. CONCLUSIONS: Disordered eating behaviours have little influence on weight change over two years in community women with disordered eating. Low levels of psychological distress at baseline may promote weight stability. Concerns about shape are likely to increase with increased weight.

Key words

Eating disorders weight psychological distress women 


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Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Darby
    • 1
  • P. Hay
    • 2
  • F. Quirk
    • 3
  • J. Mond
    • 4
  • P. G. Buettner
    • 5
  • S. J. Paxton
    • 4
  • L. Kennedy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MedicineJames Cook UniversityQueenslandAustralia
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of Western SydneyPenrith South DCAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and School of MedicineJames Cook UniversityAustralia
  4. 4.School of Psychological ScienceLa Trobe UniversityAustralia
  5. 5.School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation SciencesJames Cook UniversityAustralia

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