Study Finds Link Between Financial Problems and Eating Disorders in Women

By May Wilkerson 02/18/15

The link between financial difficulties and eating disorders creates a "vicious cycle."

young woman eating disorder.jpg

Could an empty bank account put young women at greater risk for eating disorders?

According to ​a new study from the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust in England, female students who experienced financial issues in college were more likely to develop disordered eating ​habits.

Conversely, the study also found that women with “extreme attitudes” towards food were more likely to experience short-term financial struggles.

"There may be a 'vicious cycle' for these students, where negative attitudes towards eating increase the risk of financial difficulties in the short term, and those difficulties further exacerbate negative eating attitudes in the longer term," says clinical psychologist and lead author of the study, Dr. Thomas Richardson.

The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, also found a greater likelihood of problematic eating behaviors among women of lower socioeconomic status.

Women from less affluent families were more likely to report feeling “extremely guilty” after eating, to be “preoccupied with a desire to be thinner” or to vomit after meals.

"It may be that those at higher risk of having an eating disorder feel like they have no control over events in their life, such as their financial situation, and they may then restrict their eating as a way of exercising control in other areas of their life,” says Dr. Richardson. "These links need to be further explored to determine causal mechanisms for the relationship between financial difficulties and eating attitudes."

Interestingly, the study found that a relationship between eating disorders and money issues was present in women, but not in men.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
May Wilkerson.jpg

May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.