Psychological Medicine

Original Article

Two-phase survey of eating disorders in gifted dance and non-dance high-school students in Taiwan

MEG MEI-CHIH TSENGa1a2a3, DAVID FANGa4, MING-BEEN LEEa1, WEI-CHU CHIEa2, JEN-PEI LIUa5 and WEI J. CHENa1a2a6 c1

a1 Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

a2 Institute of Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

a3 Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

a4 Center for Teacher Education, National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan

a5 Division of Biometry, Department of Agronomy, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

a6 Institute of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

ABSTRACT

Background Despite a growing body of literature reporting eating disorders (EDs) in non-Western countries in recent years, most of these studies are limited to questionnaire-based surveys or case-series studies. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of EDs in Taiwanese high-school students.

Methods The study subjects consisted of all the female high-school students enrolled in the gifted dance class in 2003 in Taiwan (n=655) and non-dance female students randomly chosen from the same school (n=1251). All the participants were asked to complete self-report questionnaires, including the 26-item Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Bulimic Investigatory Test Edinburgh (BITE). All the screen positives and an approximate 10% random sample of the screen negatives were then interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I Disorders Patient Version (SCID-I/P).

Results The prevalence of individual EDs was much higher in the dance [0·7% for anorexia nervosa (AN), 2·5% for bulimia nervosa (BN) and 4·8% for EDs, not otherwise specified (EDNOS)] than in the non-dance (0·1, 1·0 and 0·7% respectively) students. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that being in the dance class, higher concern about body shape and lower family support were correlates of EDs for all students, whereas lower parental education level was associated with EDs only for non-dance students.

Conclusion EDs were more prevalent in the weight-concerned subpopulation. Although AN is still rare, BN has emerged as a comparable prevalent disorder in Taiwan, as in Western countries.

(Online publication March 12 2007)

Correspondence

c1 *Address for correspondence: Dr Wei J. Chen, Institute of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, 17 Xu-Zhou Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan. (Email: weijen@ha.mc.ntu.edu.tw)

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