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12 Article Critiques

Laws, A. & Golding, J. M. (1996). Sexual assault history and eating disorder symptoms among White, Hispanic, and African-American women and men. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 4, 579-582.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sexual assault history and eating disorder symptoms, in two populations. Data from Epidemiologic Catchment Area Program sites in Los Angeles and North Carolina was collected; the pooled sample consisted of 514 subjects who reported a sexual assault history, and 5511 subjects with no history of sexual assault. It appears that a strength of the study included adequate sample size.

Lifetime sexual assault history was assessed with a single item referring to pressured or forced sexual contact. A weakness of this study may be found in its limited operational definition of sexual assault. The fact that only 514 subjects responded positively, may further point to the inadequacy of the assault definition; a broader definition of sexual assault, to include many additional behaviors, might have resulted in a larger response and different conclusions. Eating disorder symptoms were from the anorexia nervosa section and the somatization section of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Two additional questions were asked regarding feeling too fat or loosing 15 pounds or more without meaning to. It appears that eating disorder symptoms may have been adequately defined with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, however, the additional questions may or may not be representative of an eating disorder; for example, feeling too fat may or may not be considered symptomatic of anorexia nervosa.

Data analyses included chi-square tests to compare eating disorder symptoms for assaulted and nonassaulted respondents; logistic regression models were constructed with eating disorder symptoms as a dependent variable and sexual assault, Epidemiologic Catchment Area site, gender, ethnicity, age, ...

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