Negative affect mediates effects of psychological stress on disordered eating in young Chinese women
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Background: The bi-relationships between psychological stress, negative affect and disordered eating has been well studied in western culture, while tri-relationship among them, i.e. how some of those factors influence these bi-relationships, has rarely been studied. However, there has been little related study in the different Chinese culture. This study was conducted to investigate the bi-relationships and tri-relationship between psychological stress, negative affect, and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in young Chinese women. Methodology: A total of 245 young Chinese policewomen employed to carry out health and safety checks at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo were recruited in this study. The Chinese version of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), Beck Depression Inventory Revised (BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26) were administered to all participants. Principal Findings: The total scores of PSS-10, BDI-II and BAI were all highly correlated with that of EAT-26. The PSS-10 score significantly correlated with both BDI-II and BAI scores. There was no statistically significant direct effect from perceived stress to disordered eating (-0.012, 95%CI: -.038~0.006, p = 0.357), however, the indirect effects from PSS-10 via affect factors were statistically significant, e.g. the estimated mediation effects from PSS to EAT-26 via depression and anxiety were 0.036 (95%CI: 0.022~0.044, p<0.001) and 0.015 (95%CI: 0.005~0.023, p<0.01), respectively. Conclusions: Perceived stress and negative affects of depression and anxiety were demonstrated to be strongly associated with disordered eating. Negative affect mediated the relationship between perceived stress and disordered eating. The findings suggest that effective interventions and preventative programmes for disordered eating should pay more attention to depression and anxiety among the young Chinese female population. © 2012 Chen et al.