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At Risk Factors for Anorexia and Bulimia

  • Adolescent or young adult females from a middle to upper socioeconomic group in westernized cultures.
  • Working or aspiring to work in a field that places high emphasis on thinness (i.e., acting, modeling, ballet, gymnastics.)
  • Previous history of being overweight or teased about weight that results in dieting behaviors.
  • Family history of eating disorders, weight consciousness, alcoholism, depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Low self esteem, high achievement expectations, perfectionism, social insecurity, and difficulty identifying and expressing feelings.
  • Additional personality characteristics include:
    • Anorexia Nervosa: Overly cautious, fear of change, hyper-sensitive, prefer orderliness.
    • Bulimia: Impulsive, disorganized, likes high risk behaviors, prefers novel situations, easily bored.
  • Families that are too much in the direction of being either overprotective and controlling or too disengaged and uninvolved.
  • History of physical, sexual or significant relational trauma.
  • Large discrepancy between how an individual presents themselves to others and how they actually feel about themselves.
  • Difficulty in identifying and/or verbalizing feelings, particularly anger.


Written by Craig Johnson, Ph.D., Director of Laureateis Eating Disorders Program and Senior Clinical Advisor for the National Eating Disorders Organization (NEDO) and Barbara Fleming, LCSW, Coordinator of NEDO. © 1996

by sebenl99 — last modified Oct 12, 2012 09:20 AM

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