Title

The Association between Childhood Trauma Experiences and Eating Disorder Behaviors: Risk Factors and Racial Differences

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Childhood trauma is a risk factor for eating disorder (ED) symptoms. However, less common ED symptoms remain understudied, and little is known about how trauma-ED symptom associations differ across racial groups. Thus, the present study aimed to examine whether associations between childhood trauma and multiple understudied ED symptoms (e.g., maladaptive muscle building behaviors, restricting) differed between adults who identified as Black vs. White. Participants were 128 Black and 163 White college students who completed measures assessing childhood trauma (traumatic sexual experience, violence, extremely ill/injured, death of a close friend/family member) and ED symptoms (binge eating, purging, restricting, excessive exercising, maladaptive muscle building behaviors). Regression analyses examined whether race moderated associations between trauma and the five ED symptoms and simple slopes analyses probed significant interactions. Results indicated that experiencing illness/injury during childhood was associated with greater maladaptive muscle building and violence was associated with more restricting and maladaptive muscle building, but not purging, binge eating, or excessive exercising. Simple slopes analyses indicated that experiencing childhood violence was associated with greater maladaptive muscle building among Black, but not White, participants. Traumatic sexual experiences and death of a close friend/family member were not associated with any ED symptoms. Collectively, these results suggest specific types of childhood trauma may be risk-factors for certain understudied ED behaviors (restricting, maladaptive muscle building). Given that childhood violence was associated with more maladaptive muscle building among Black individuals, but not White, future research should investigate factors that contribute to this higher risk among Black young adults.

Presenting Author Name/s

Lauren Butler

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Kristin Heron

College Affiliation

College of Sciences

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology

Session Title

Monarchs Maximizing Access to Research Careers #2

Location

Zoom

Start Date

3-19-2022 2:15 PM

End Date

3-19-2022 3:15 PM

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Mar 19th, 2:15 PM Mar 19th, 3:15 PM

The Association between Childhood Trauma Experiences and Eating Disorder Behaviors: Risk Factors and Racial Differences

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Childhood trauma is a risk factor for eating disorder (ED) symptoms. However, less common ED symptoms remain understudied, and little is known about how trauma-ED symptom associations differ across racial groups. Thus, the present study aimed to examine whether associations between childhood trauma and multiple understudied ED symptoms (e.g., maladaptive muscle building behaviors, restricting) differed between adults who identified as Black vs. White. Participants were 128 Black and 163 White college students who completed measures assessing childhood trauma (traumatic sexual experience, violence, extremely ill/injured, death of a close friend/family member) and ED symptoms (binge eating, purging, restricting, excessive exercising, maladaptive muscle building behaviors). Regression analyses examined whether race moderated associations between trauma and the five ED symptoms and simple slopes analyses probed significant interactions. Results indicated that experiencing illness/injury during childhood was associated with greater maladaptive muscle building and violence was associated with more restricting and maladaptive muscle building, but not purging, binge eating, or excessive exercising. Simple slopes analyses indicated that experiencing childhood violence was associated with greater maladaptive muscle building among Black, but not White, participants. Traumatic sexual experiences and death of a close friend/family member were not associated with any ED symptoms. Collectively, these results suggest specific types of childhood trauma may be risk-factors for certain understudied ED behaviors (restricting, maladaptive muscle building). Given that childhood violence was associated with more maladaptive muscle building among Black individuals, but not White, future research should investigate factors that contribute to this higher risk among Black young adults.