Experiencing financial difficulties at university may increase the risk of female students developing an eating disorder, according to new research from the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust.
Conversely, the study also found that having extreme attitudes to food and eating predicted short-term financial difficulties for female students, suggesting the possibility of a 'vicious cycle'.
Published online in The International Journal of Eating Disorders, the researchers also found a greater persistence of eating attitudes in women from less affluent families.
Over 400 undergraduate students, from universities across the UK, completed surveys assessing family affluence, recent financial difficulties and attitudes towards food and eating.
Clinical Psychologist and lead author of the study, Dr Thomas Richardson commented: "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."
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