College Women: Eating Behaviors and Help-Seeking Preferences

By Prouty, Anne M.; Protinsky, Howard O. et al. | Adolescence, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

College Women: Eating Behaviors and Help-Seeking Preferences


Prouty, Anne M., Protinsky, Howard O., Canady, Donna, Adolescence


More and more women are struggling with eating disorders, and they are doing so at younger and younger ages, often starting at puberty (Bruch, 1981; Garner & Garfinkel, 1980; Mitchell & Eckert, 1987; Shisslak, Crago, Neal, & Swain, 1987; Striegel-Moore, 1995). Nattiv and Lynch (1994) estimated that one to three percent of the general Western female population meet formal criteria for disordered eating, with a higher prevalence among adolescent and young adult women. It has been documented that a majority of American college women exhibit at least a few of the symptoms of disordered eating (Hesse-Biber, 1989, Protinsky & Marek, 1997), and prevalence studies have shown that it is common for fifteen percent or more of college campus women to meet diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (e.g., Borgen & Corbin, 1987; Heatherton, Nichols, Mahamedi, & Keel, 1995; Hesse-Biber, 1989; Ratcliff, 1986). Other researchers have documented that the most common onset of eating disorders is around age 18 (Thelen, Mann, Pruitt, & Smith, 1987). In addition, some research has shown that belonging to certain groups (for example, participating in sports or being a member of a particular religious faith) can increase a woman's likelihood of disordered eating (Rosen, McKeag, Hough, & Curley, 1986; Sykes, Gross, & Subishin, 1986; Sykes, Leuser, Melia, & Gross, 1988). The present study was conducted to answer three questions: (1) What percentage of college women would be diagnosed with disordered eating at a large, mid-Atlantic university? (2) Would the women who were diagnosable differ from those who were not on a variety of demographic variables? (3) What types of support services for disordered eating do these college women want?

By doing this research, we hoped to gain insight not only into the numbers and demographic characteristics of college women with and without disordered eating, but also to learn what kinds of services students thought would be most helpful. Thereby, we would provide an up-to-date picture of both the state of the problem and its potential solution from the students' perspectives.

METHOD

Sample and Data Collection

A random sample of 10% (1,066) of the female students enrolled in a large, public, mid-Atlantic, rural university were chosen from university registrar enrollment data. The stratified sample was proportional to the actual number of women in each year of study, undergraduate freshmen through graduate students. Surveys were distributed via the mail, and due to the anonymous protocol, no follow-up contact was possible. Participation was voluntary, and the study was approved by the university's human subjects review committee.

Instruments

The demographic questionnaire asked women to identify their age, race, college class level, whether they were in a sorority or participated in organized sports, their religious background, their current level of religiosity and which religion (if any), their relationship status, and their parents' relationship statuses. This questionnaire also asked the following: if they were concerned about their weight or eating habits to whom would they most likely go for help; if they had an eating problem from whom would they seek help; and who would be their first and second choices for support if they chose to go to therapy.

Although no self-report instrument alone can diagnose an eating disorder, the abbreviated Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26; Garner et al., 1982) is a widely used self-report screening measure for the symptoms of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and has been used in multiple studies in North America and Europe (e.g., Nelson, Hughes, Katz, & Searight, 1999; Ratchliff, 1986; Williams, Schaefer, Shisslak, Gronwaldt, & Comerci, 1986). The EAT-26 contains twenty-six items with six possible answers ranging from never (0) to always (3).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

College Women: Eating Behaviors and Help-Seeking Preferences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.