Category: Eating Disorders

PS12- #A3 - Body Checking and Eating Disorder Psychopathology Among Adolescent Females and Males

Saturday, Nov 18
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Eating Disorders | Adolescents | Gender

Over-evaluation of shape and weight is a core transdiagnostic feature of eating disorder (ED) psychopathology and is believed to be central to the maintenance of EDs. Body checking (e.g., frequent weighing, scrutinizing body parts in mirrors, checking clothes for fit, etc.) is a behavioural manifestation of over-evaluation of shape and weight. Despite the theoretical assumption that body checking is part of the core maintenance mechanisms of EDs, body checking has received little empirical attention, especially in youth and among males. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between body checking and ED symptoms in a large community sample of adolescent females and males. We hypothesized that body checking would be correlated with greater ED symptoms for both females and males, even after controlling for other significant predictors of disordered eating including depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Participants included females  (n = 114) and males (n = 63), aged 13-19 years (mean = 16.55, SD = 1.11). ED symptoms were assessed using the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire – Adolescent Version (EDE-Q) Restraint, Eating Concern, Shape Concern, and Weight Concern subscale scores and the Global score. Body checking was assessed with the Body Checking Questionnaire (BCQ) and the Body Checking and Avoidance Questionnaire (BCAQ). Symptoms of depression and self-esteem were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSES), respectively. Partial correlations between body checking and EDE-Q subscale and global scores, with CES-D and RSES scores entered as covariates, were conducted separately for females and males. As expected among females, body checking assessed using both the BCQ and BCAQ was strongly associated with all EDE-Q scores (all p’s < .001). For males, the results were less consistent. The majority of the EDE-Q subscales (Eating Concern, Shape Concern, and Weight Concern) and the total score were significantly correlated with the BCQ (p’s < .01), whereas the only significant association with the BCAQ was with the Eating Concern subscale (p < .01). These findings highlight the importance of examining correlates of EDs in both females and males. Although the EDE-Q is well validated for assessing ED symptoms among males, it may be that the measures used to assess body checking do not adequately assess this construct for males, particularly the BCAQ. Alternatively, the associations between body checking and ED symptoms may differ for males and females. For females, the role of body checking behaviours in the prevention and treatment of EDs deserves further attention.

Shannon L. Zaitsoff

Associate Professor
Simon Fraser University

Rachelle Pullmer

Doctoral Student
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sarah L. Anderson

Doctoral Student
Simon Fraser University

Sherene Balanji

Undergraduate Student
Simon Fraser University

Lindsay Samson

Undergraduate Student
Simon Fraser University

Jennifer S. Coelho

Psychologist/Clinical Assistant Professor
BC Children's Hospital/University of British Columbia