To assess attitudinal and behavioral symptoms of eating disorders in preadolescent and adolescent girls with IDDM and a matched sample of nondiabetic subjects, and to explore the relationship between the perceived impact of IDDM and eating disorder symptoms.
All eligible IDDM patients (girls, age 8–18 yr) from the case register of the Yale Children's Diabetes Clinic were recruited for this study. Of 49 eligible patients, 46 participated in the study. Control subjects were recruited among students in several local schools; 46 girls, individually age and race-matched with IDDM patients, and group-matched by father's socioeconomic status, were included in this study. All subjects participated in an investigator-based clinical interview (EDE) and completed a self-report measure of eating-related psychopathology (EDI). IDDM subjects completed the DQOL measure to determine the perceived impact of diabetes on patients' lives.
IDDM patients reported significantly more regular consumption of meals and snacks than did nondiabetic subjects. No group differences were found on measures of symptoms of eating disorders: both groups reported minimal levels of symptoms. Among adolescent IDDM patients, eating disorder symptoms were related significantly to patients' dissatisfaction with the illness and its impact on their lives.
It appears that when applying stringent diagnostic procedures and matching criteria, IDDM girls do not evidence an elevated prevalence of eating disorder symptoms. However, those IDDM patients who did report symptoms may be a high-risk group for the development of an eating disorder and should be followed prospectively.