Eating disorder features and quality of life: Does gender matter?
This study examined whether gender moderates the associations between eating disorder features and quality-of-life impairment and whether eating disorder features can explain gender differences in quality of life in a sample of undergraduate students.
The SF-12 Physical and Mental Component Summary Scales were used to measure health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and the Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) was used to quantify eating disorder behaviors and cognitions. These self-report forms were completed by undergraduate men and women (n = 709).
Gender was a significant predictor of mental HRQoL, such that women in this sample reported poorer mental HRQoL than men. Eating disorder cognitions were the strongest predictor of undergraduate students’ mental and physical HRQoL, while binge eating negatively predicted their physical HRQoL only. Gender was not found to moderate the associations between eating disorder features and HRQoL, and eating disorder cognitions were found to mediate the association between gender and mental HRQoL such that a proportion of the difference between undergraduate men and women’s mental HRQoL was attributable to eating disorder cognitions.
This study provided further evidence of the significant impact of eating disorder features, particularly eating disorder cognitions, on HRQoL. The finding that gender did not moderate the relationships between eating disorder features and HRQoL indicates the importance of investigating these features in both men and women in future research.
KeywordsEating disorders Quality of life Eating disorder behaviors Eating disorder cognitions
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