The present study was, first, aimed at examining the relationship between eating disorders, feminine gender role stress and other types of stress. In addition, we investigated whether eating disordered women compared to non-clinical controls use depressogenic coping more often. We hypothesized that women with eating disorders would, compared to controls, suffer from more stress, irrespective of the type of stress, and that they would use depressogenic coping more frequently. Participants were 36 women suffering from eating disorders (mean age 25.8 years) and 53 controls (mean age 21.2 years). Questionnaires were administered reflecting the presence (or absence) of anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia nervosa, feminine gender role stress, perceived life stress, and coping styles. Compared with controls, eating disordered women reported higher levels of feminine gender role stress, but also higher levels of masculine gender role stress as well as recently experienced stress. Stress in general rather than femininity-related stress exclusively was related to eating disorders. In addition, women suffering from eating disorders used emotional coping more often than the control group. We tend to conclude that not their relatively high stress levels are constitutive for eating disorders, but rather a specific way of coping with negative emotions, emotion-focused coping by means of emotional eating.
|Journal||Stress and Health|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|