Title

Using network analysis to identify central eating disorder symptoms among men

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

Objective: The network theory of psychopathology has been described as an “innovative framework” that may “transform” clinical psychological science. Several network studies have identified central eating disorder (ED) symptoms, yet studies have been comprised primarily of women. Using two large samples, we constructed ED symptom networks among men to identify central symptoms. Method: Participants were recruited from three universities and using Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Participants completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q), Male Body Attitudes Scale, and Drive for Muscularity Scale. ED symptom networks were jointly estimated among men with (n = 248) and without core ED symptoms (n = 902). Core ED symptoms were defined by (a) scoring above a suggested male EDE-Q clinical cutoff and (b) reporting symptoms consistent with probable ED diagnoses. Expected influence and predictability (proportion of each node's variance explained by other nodes in the network) were calculated for each node. Results: Shape overvaluation, desiring weight loss, fear of losing control over eating, feeling guilty for missing weight training, and using supplements had the greatest expected influence and predictability. Network structures did not significantly differ between participants with versus without core ED symptoms. Discussion: The centricity of body dissatisfaction items in the networks supports some components of cognitive behavioral theories of EDs. However, the findings also suggest the importance of muscularity- and leanness-oriented concerns, which have been traditionally neglected from leading ED theories that tend to focus on thinness pursuits as a main driver of body dissatisfaction.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2019

Publication Title

International Journal of Eating Disorders

ISSN

0276-3478

Volume

52

Issue

8

DOI

10.1002/eat.23123

First Page

871

Last Page

884

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