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Eating Disorders Linked to Increased Risk of Theft and Other Criminal Behavior

In an analysis of nearly 960,000 females, individuals with eating disorders were more likely to be convicted of theft and other crimes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:01 am EDT
"Our results highlight forensic issues as an adversity associated with eating disorders. Criminal convictions can compound disease burden and complicate treatment"

In an analysis of nearly 960,000 females, individuals with eating disorders were more likely to be convicted of theft and other crimes.

The incidences of theft and other convictions were 12% and 7%, respectively, in those with anorexia nervosa, 18% and 13% in those with bulimia nervosa, and 5% and 6% in those without eating disorders.  The associations with theft conviction remained in both anorexia and bulimia nervosa even when adjusting for psychiatric comorbidities and for familial factors.

The findings indicate that research is needed to investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between crime and eating disorder psychopathology, as well as efforts to determine how best to address this relationship in treatment.

“Our results highlight forensic issues as an adversity associated with eating disorders. Criminal convictions can compound disease burden and complicate treatment ,” said Shuyang Yao, lead author of the International Journal of Eating Disorders study. “Clinicians should be sure to conduct routine reviews of criminal history during assessments for eating disorders.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eat.22743/full

About Journal

A leading peer-reviewed journal in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and nutrition & dietetics.  With a mission to advance the scientific knowledge needed for understanding, treating, and preventing eating disorders, the International Journal of Eating Disorders (IJED) publishes rigorously evaluated, high-quality contributions to an international readership of health professionals, clinicians and scientists. The journal also draws the interest of patient groups and advocates focused on eating disorders, and many of the articles draw attention from mainstream media outlets.

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