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Risk Factors and Comorbidities of Eating Disorders in a Large Military Cohort


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The goal of this study is to determine the prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) among military personnel and examine risk factors for their onset and recurrence, especially military-specific exposures. We additionally aim to describe the patterns of comorbidity between EDs and other mental health conditions (e.g. PTSD, depression, and problem drinking), particularly regarding order of onset. Finally, the study explores whether certain family system stressors as well as individual or relationship factors, are associated with EDs in military spouses. In the first year of the study all subtasks were completed on schedule. Preliminary estimates from self-report survey data from military personnel suggest that approximately 9-20% of men and 14-22% of women are either at risk for or meet the criteria for a probable eating disorders. Risk and protective factors as well as comorbid conditions were additionally calculated by survey cycle and eating disorder status(Table 2). Finally, when examining new onset EDs in military spouses using logistic regression, we found that spouse PTSD, body mass index (overweight or obese), social isolation, former smoker status, and financial problems were significant predictors of new onset Binge Eating Disorder. These findings have implications for the assessment and treatment of military personnel and spouses with eating disorders.



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