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...To early sexual abuse.

Other researchers consider childhood sexual abuse to have a potentially stronger influence on bulimia than that suggested by studies such as Yager's.

Bulimic women may sometimes fail to recall early experiences of sexual abuse, maintains David B. Herzog of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Painful memories of this sort may get pushed out of consciousness. And even if they emerge, some bulimics may fear others will view them as disgusting or brush them off if they reveal these incidents, Herzog points out.

Intensive two-hour interviews conducted with 20 bulimic women by Herzog and his co-workers yielded evidence of childhood sexual abuse in 13. Of those, 12 reported having experienced sexual abuse before their bulimia first appeared, Herzog says.

The interviews proved emotionally draining for both the bulimic women and the investigators, he notes. In telephone interviews conducted six weeks after the study, six of the 13 women citing sexual abuse also reported that they developed sleep problems following their face-to-face interview. But that session did not provoke a worsening of bulimic symptoms. Most women said that they had talked about their past sexual abuse only because they knew they would never see the interviewer again, Herzog says.
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Title Annotation:possible cause of bulimia is sexual abuse as a child
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 5, 1993
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