Risk of eating disorders, consumption of addictive substances and emotional difficulties in adolescent girls.
The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of risk of EDs in a sample of 767 adolescent girls aged between 16 and 20, and to study the differences between adolescent girls at risk and not at risk of EDs in relation to different variables (sociodemographic, anthropometric, body image perception, overvaluation of thinness, substance consumption, alexithymia and anxiety). The prevalence of adolescent girls at risk of EDs was found to be 15%. The results revealed that weight, BMI, body image perception and overvaluation of thinness were key factors in adolescent girls at risk of EDs. Also, a higher percentage of at-risk adolescent girls smoked, had tried synthetic drugs and started drinking alcohol at a younger age. Higher levels of alexithymia and anxiety were also found in at-risk adolescents. These results suggest that, in addition to nutritional education and information about the effects of internalizing the thin ideal on adolescent personalities, ED prevention programs should also include techniques for expressing and regulating emotions, in order to prevent young girls from turning to inappropriate weight and body image control behaviors.
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