Prevalence and Characteristics of Disordered Eating Adolescents in Cyprus: The Influence of Body Image, Situational Dysphoria, Self-Esteem, and the Media
The purpose of the current study was threefold: a) to collect a very large representative sample of adolescents and assess for their levels of disordered eating behaviors; b) to describe the characteristics of adolescents with disordered eating behaviors in Cyprus based on the measures that were used in the study and c) to compare the adolescents with significant disordered eating behaviors (EAT-26 ≥ 20) to the ones without any disordered eating behaviors (EAT < 20) on all the variables of interest. A total of 2664 secondary school students responded to self-report measures assessing disordered eating, negative body image, situational dysphoria, self-esteem and media influences. Results indicated that 16.04% of the overall sample of adolescents scored significantly on the EAT-26 (21.4% of females and 8.4% of males). Results also indicated that the majority of the adolescents with disordered eating behaviors were female, mainly from average socioeconomic status, normal Body Mass Index and grew up and reside in an urban area. Finally, adolescents in the disordered eating behaviors group scored significantly lower on appearance satisfaction and self-esteem and significantly higher on appearance investment, weight-related anxiety, situational dysphoria, internalization of the thin and athletic ideals as well as feeling pressured from the media and considering the media as a good source of information. In conclusion, results indicate a substantial difference in levels of disordered eating in adolescents as compared to previous research in Cyprus. Possible explanations are addressed as well as implications for prevention strategies and future research ideas based on the findings.