Journal of Community Nursing - page 95

JCN
2013,Vol 27, No 4
95
MENTAL HEALTH
only eight of the self-identified
shape-preoccupied participants did
not consider themselves to be weight-
preoccupied.
Eating attitudes test scores
The characteristics of self-identified
weight-preoccupied and non-weight-
preoccupied respondents can be found
in
Table 1
. The weight-preoccupied
participants’mean EAT score of
24.67±11.58 was significantly higher
(t=6.7, df=113, p<0.001) than non-
weight-preoccupied participants’
mean EAT scores (11.78±8.47) (
Table
1
). A higher score on the EAT suggests
greater concern with body weight—
participants in this study accurately
self-identified weight preoccupation
according to their EAT scores.
Body mass index
There was no significant difference
in mean BMI between weight-
preoccupied and non-weight-
preoccupied groups. There was
no significant difference in the
mean desired BMI, but there was a
significant difference between the
actual BMI and desired BMI of the
weight-preoccupied and non-weight-
preoccupied groups (
Table 1
). The
mean difference between the actual
BMI and desired BMI was 4.48 pounds
for the weight-preoccupied group
and 2.54 pounds for the non-weight-
preoccupied group. Both groups
desired a weight loss between two
and four pounds, irrespective of their
weight preoccupation status.
Regardless of whether they
were weight-preoccupied or not,
women desired an average BMI of 21.
Participants who stated they had a
lower weight at age 15 years were less
likely to be weight-preoccupied.
Present experience with weight
Weight preoccupation was
significantly associated with
dissatisfaction with present weight
(x2=15.88, df=3, p<0.001). Of the
participants who were preoccupied
with their weight, 92% reported that
weight issues were often or very
often on their minds, compared with
32% of the non-weight-preoccupied
group. Overall, the women who
were preoccupied with their weight
reported increased feelings of‘fatness’
and weight dissatisfaction (
Table 2
).
DISCUSSION
The phenomena of weight and shape
preoccupation have been recognised
as preliminary behaviours in the
development of eating disorders
(Killen et al, 1994).
In this study, weight
preoccupation was associated with
shape preoccupation, and similar
percentages of women who identified
themselves as weight-preoccupied
(31%) were also shape-preoccupied
(33%) — this indicates that the
two accompany each other, as
demonstrated in previous research
(Tubbs, 2000).
Killen et al (1994) identified the
relationship between weight and
shape preoccupation and the onset
of eating disorder symptoms. In
addition, the risk for developing an
eating disorder was greater when
weight preoccupation was combined
with other personality factors, such as
perfectionism or narcissism
(Davis et
al, 1997).
In this study, those individuals
who identified themselves as
weight-preoccupied scored
significantly higher on the EAT
scores. Furthermore, the association
between EAT scores and reported
weight preoccupation indicates
that individuals can identify weight
preoccupation in themselves.
In anorexia nervosa and bulimia
nervosa there is usually denial about
the eating-disordered behaviour.
This denial appears to be absent
in those who are preoccupied
with their weight, suggesting that
clinicians do not need a specific
instrument to assess weight and
shape preoccupation — individuals
can simply be asked whether they are
preoccupied with their weight
or shape.
Weight and shape preoccupation
have been associated with a higher
BMI (Lynch et al, 2008), as well as
being identified in individuals who
want to lose weight or who are dieting
(Colabianchi et al, 2006). However,
in this study no statistical differences
were found in BMI between weight-
preoccupied and non-weight-
preoccupied individuals, suggesting
that the phenomena of weight and
shape preoccupation may not be
about weight itself, but rather about
a person’s perceptions of their weight
(Park and Beaudet, 2007).
In this study, those women whose
current BMI was further from their
desired BMI were more likely to be
weight-preoccupied. This backs up
previous research, which found that
women who perceive their current
weight to be far from their desired
weight demonstrate more dieting
behaviours and weight and shape
preoccupation (Colabianchi et al,
2006). In addition, women who were
not preoccupied with their weight had
been a significantly lower minimum
weight since age 15, suggesting
that weighing more as a teenager
prompted women to continue their
preoccupation with weight into young
adulthood.
Table 1:
Characteristics of self-identified weight-preoccupied and non-weight
preoccupied respondents
Characteristic
Weight-preoccupied (n=38)
(mean ± SD)
Non-weight preoccupied (n=83)
(mean ± SD)
Age (years) 22.45 ± 19.53
19.86 ± 1.38
22.45 ± 19.53
EAT Score
24.67 ± 11.58*
11.78 ± 8.47
Body mass index (BMI)
25.37 ± 6.97
23.83 ± 5.54
Desired BMI
21.43 ± 3.12
21.54 ± 3.18
Difference in BMI/desired BMI
4.48 ± 4.43*
2.54 ± 3.4*
Minimum weight (pounds)
133.06 ± 24.47*
124.21 ± 17.69*
Maximum weight (pounds)
161.24 ± 5.03
147.24 ± 43.52
Age when weight concern began
(years)
12.21 ± 3.31
13.42 ± 3.34
*p<0.05
1...,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,94 96,97,98,99,100,101,102,103,104,105,...116