OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Impact of Traumatic Events on Psychosocial Impairment in Individuals with an Eating Disorder


Research suggests that trauma has an impact on eating disorders. While prior research has demonstrated that the trauma from abuse has a significant impact on eating disorders, research has failed to explore other types of trauma. The purpose of this study is to examine whether traumatic life events impact psychosocial functioning among individuals 70 5th Annual Student Research Symposium living with an eating disorder. Furthermore, this study aimed to identify which traumas are shown to have the strongest impact on psychosocial functioning. A quantitative design was used for this investigation, using measurement scales that have been shown to be valid and reliable in measuring the constructs of trauma and psychosocial functioning among individuals with an eating disorder. Participants completed a single survey of the combined measurement scales. A non-random purposive sample of 2,312 participants was collected from online social media sites Tumblr, Facebook, eating disorder message boards, and an outpatient eating disorder treatment center. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis was conducted using SPSS. Based on the variables being examined, ANOVA and multiple regression was used to analyze the data. The findings of this study indicate there is a significant relationship between traumatic life events and impairment among individuals with an eating disorder. Specifically, reported incidence of general trauma, as well as reported incidence of physical and sexual trauma were found to be related to higher levels of impairment. Thus, future research and clinical practice should take into account various types of trauma when working with individuals who have an eating disorder.

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