Vegetarianism and eating disorders: association between eating attitudes and other psychological factors among Turkish adolescents.Appetite 2005; 44(3):309-15A
The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences exist in eating attitudes, self-esteem, social trait anxiety and social physique anxiety of self-reported vegetarian and nonvegetarian Turkish adolescents. The sample for the Turkish University' students is designed to provide the estimates of vegetarian indicators and prevalence. The participants were 608 females and 597 males, in total 1205 adolescents aged between 17 and 21 years. Disturbed eating behaviors (EAT-26> or =20) was found in 45.2% (14 of vegetarian) of the total vegetarian sample; which included two of the male vegetarians and 12 of the female vegetarians. The mean BMI was 19.78+/-1.49 kg/m(2) for female vegetarians and 20.78+/-2.46 kg/m(2) for female nonvegetarians (p<0.05). Male vegetarians had significantly higher score than male nonvegetarians on EAT-26 (17.25+/-11.18 for male vegetarians and 9.38+/-6.60 for male nonvegetarians), dieting (6.50+/-7.65 for male vegetarians and 2.55+/-3.87 for male nonvegetarians) and oral control (6.13+/-4.67 for male vegetarians and 3.20+/-3.19 for male nonvegetarians) scores (p<0.05). Besides, female vegetarians had significantly higher score than female nonvegetarians on EAT-26 (22.04+/-13.62 for female vegetarians and 11.38+/-8.28 for female nonvegetarians), dieting (10.35+/-9.58 for female vegetarians and 4.41+/-5.30 for female nonvegetarians), oral control (7.78+/-5.13 for female vegetarians and 3.33+/-3.51 for female nonvegetarians) and STAI (51.39+/-7.28 for female vegetarians and 47.29+/-5.13 for female nonvegetarians) scores (p<0.05). As a conclusion, the present study indicated abnormal eating attitudes, low self-esteem, high social physique anxiety, and high trait anxiety in Turkish vegetarian adolescents. The vegetarian adolescents may be more likely to display disordered eating attitudes and behaviors than nonvegetarians.