Exploring differences in disordered eating and related appetitive traits among women based on childhood and current food security status

Shannon M. O'Connor, Hana F. Zickgraf, Vivienne M. Hazzard, Leora L. Haller, Jennifer E. Wildes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite emerging evidence that food insecurity (FI) is associated with elevated rates of eating pathology, little is known about the lasting impact of FI on eating behaviors. Studies that have explored the association between FI during childhood and eating behavior in adulthood have not accounted for current FI. The present study explored differences in disordered eating (DE) and related appetitive traits among four groups of cisgender female mothers: individuals who (1) endorsed childhood FI only (n = 96), (2) endorsed current FI only (n = 134), (3) endorsed both childhood and current FI (n = 257), and (4) denied both childhood and current FI (n = 146). Participants responded to online questionnaires including items from the USDA Household Food Security Survey Module, the 7-item Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire, the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale, and the Adult Eating Behavior Questionnaire. Adjusting for age and race/ethnicity, ANCOVAs explored mean differences between groups in DE and appetitive traits, and a modified Poisson regression model examined differences in binge-eating prevalence across the four FI groups. The “current FI only” group consistently endorsed the highest levels of DE and related appetitive traits followed by the “current and childhood FI” group, suggesting newly food-insecure women may be at highest risk for DE. Interestingly, across almost all constructs, the “childhood FI only” group did not differ significantly from the “no FI” group. These findings suggest that improved access to food may help offset risk for adult DE related to experiences of FI in childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101729
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume49
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Appetitive traits
  • Binge eating
  • Childhood
  • Disordered eating
  • Food insecurity
  • Parents

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