Body dissatisfaction and symptoms of bulimia nervosa prospectively predict suicide ideation in adolescents
Objective: Symptoms of eating disorders have been established as significant concurrent correlates with suicide ideation and behaviors in adolescent samples, but very few studies have examined eating disorder symptoms as prospective risk factors for suicide. The current study examined eating disorder symptoms as prospective risk factors for suicide ideation in an unselected community sample of adolescents. Method: Data were collected from 436 adolescents in middle and high school at baseline and 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Adolescents completed self-report measures assessing eating disorder symptoms and suicide ideation and behaviors at each time point during school hours. Results: Regression analyses found that body dissatisfaction was a significant prospective predictor of suicide ideation severity at the 6- and 12-month follow-ups, symptoms of bulimia nervosa (binge-eating disorder and purging) predicted suicide ideation severity at the 12-month follow-up only, and symptoms of anorexia nervosa (drive for thinness and restricting) were not significant predictors of suicide ideation at either follow-up. Exploratory analyses found the same pattern of results for the sample of girls only, while no significant predictors were found for boys only. Discussion: This is the first longitudinal study of disordered eating and suicide ideation in American adolescents. Symptoms of bulimia nervosa and body dissatisfaction seem to be true risk factors for suicidal ideation. The current study demonstrates the importance of disordered eating behaviors in the development of suicidal ideation in adolescents, particularly for adolescent girls.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Perkins, Natalie M. and Brausch, Amy M., "Body dissatisfaction and symptoms of bulimia nervosa prospectively predict suicide ideation in adolescents" (2019). All Faculty Scholarship. 35.