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Distinguishing between healthy and pathological orthorexia: a cluster analytic study

Abstract : Purpose: This study represents a first attempt to explore the typology of young adults from a large non-clinical sample based on orthorexic (ON), eating disordered (ED) and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCD). Methods: 921 individuals (Mage = 20.72, SD = 2.63), 84.6% women (n = 780) and 15.3% men (n = 141), completed a set of questionnaires assessing ON, ED, OCD behaviors and body image attitudes. Results: Cluster analysis based on ON, ED and OCD behaviors yielded four clearly distinct groups: a “Low” group that was below the sample mean for all behaviors, an “Orthorexic behaviors” group, an “Eating disordered behaviors” and an “Obsessive-compulsive behaviors” group with, respectively, mean scores on ON, ED and OCD behaviors that all were all above the sample means. Using ANOVA, these groups were compared regarding body image attitudes, self-reported BMI, age and educational level. Results show that all clusters differed from each other on virtually all variables. And compared with all other clusters, the “Orthorexic behaviors” cluster displayed greater scores in health and fitness-related aspects of body image. It also differed from the “Eating disordered behaviors” cluster, by its higher scores in appearance evaluation, body areas satisfaction and lower scores in self-classified weight. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the existence of a distinct group of individuals with orthorexic behaviors and its positive body image attitudes and offer significant support for the possibility of ON being a distinct condition from ED and OCD.
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Contributor : Patrick Raynal <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 6:55:25 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 3:24:08 AM
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Ecem Yakın, Patrick Raynal, Henri Chabrol. Distinguishing between healthy and pathological orthorexia: a cluster analytic study. Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, Springer Verlag, In press, ⟨10.1007/s40519-021-01178-5⟩. ⟨hal-03197421⟩



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