The prevalence and impact of trauma history in eating disorder patients

Klas Backholm, Rasmus Isomaa, Andreas Birgegård

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BACKGROUND: Early experiences of traumatic events (TEs) may be associated with subsequent eating disturbance. However, few studies have investigated overall exposure and trauma-type frequency in various types of eating disorders (EDs).OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and type of TEs in a nationally representative sample of Swedish ED patients.METHOD: Data from a database (Stepwise) for specialized ED care were used. Trauma history was assessed as a part of the routine, initial assessment. Participants over the age of 18 with a diagnosed DSM-IV ED were included (N=4,524).RESULTS:The number of patients having experienced at least one TE was 843 (18.6%), and 204 (24.2%) reported at least one additional trauma. Sexual trauma was the most common form of TE (6.3%). There was no difference in overall traumatic exposure or in type of experienced trauma between the ED diagnostic subgroups (AN, BN, EDNOS, and BED). Overall traumatic exposure was linked to self-reported severity of ED symptoms, more secondary psychosocial impairment, psychiatric comorbidity, and negative self-image.CONCLUSIONS: Trauma history in ED patients merits attention. Results are partly in line with and partly in contrast to previous research. Measurement of trauma history has varied substantially in research on EDs, and this study adds to the indistinct literature on trauma history in ED.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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