Published: 2021-11-24

Risk and relationship of eating disorders with body image, stress and self-esteem among university students

Nayanabai Shabadi, Meghna Arora, Renuka M., Arun Gopi, Narayanamurthy M. R.


Background: The study was conducted to find the prevalence rates of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and levels of stress in the students of JSSAHER and to also find out the relationship between the same with eating disorders.

Methods: A survey was conducted among 160 participants and they were asked to fill out questionnaires containing EAT-26, PSS-4, Rosenberg self-esteem scale and contour drawing scale which assesses risk of eating disorder, stress, self-esteem and Body image satisfaction respectively. The data was analyzed.

Results: It was found that the 16.9% of the participants were prone to eating pathologies. Among 160 students 60% were not satisfied by their bodies, 37.5% reported high levels of stress and 20% had low self-esteem. A statistically significant association was found between eating disorders risk and body dissatisfaction whereas no significant association was found between stress and self-esteem with eating disorders in our study.

Conclusions:This study showcases that eating disorders are an upcoming issue and that more research is required to find the etiological factors which lead and predispose people to eating disorders in India.



Eating disorders, Body image dissatisfaction, Stress, Low self-esteem, University students

Full Text:



Shashank KJ, Gowda P, Chethan TK. A Cross-sectional Study to Assess the Eating-Disorder among Female Medical Students in a Rural Medical College of Karnataka State. Ntl J Community Med. 2016;7(6):524-7.

Nishizawa Y, Kida K, Nishizawa K, Hashiba S, Saito K, Mita R. Perception of self-physique and eating behavior of high school students in Japan. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003;57(2):189-96.

Seigel K, Hetta J. Exercise and eating disorder symptoms among young females. Eating and Weight Disorders- Studies on Anorexia. Bulimia Obesity. 2001;6(1):32-9.

Anderluh MB, Tchanturia K, Rabe-Hesketh S, Treasure J. Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Traits in Adult Women with Eating-Disorders: Defining a Broader Eating Disorder Phenotype. Am J Psychiatry. 2003;160(2):242.

Sassaroli S, Ruggiero GM. The role of stress in the association between low self-esteem, perfectionism, and worry, and eating disorders. Int J Eating Disorders. 2005;37(2):135-41.

Rolls BJ, Fedoroff IC, Guthrie JF. Gender differences in eating behavior and body weight regulation. Health Psychol. 1991;10(2):133-42.

Vijayalakshmi P, Thimmaiah R, Gandhi S, BadaMath S. Eating Attitudes, Weight Control Behaviors, Body Image Satisfaction and Depression Level Among Indian Medical and Nursing Undergraduate Students. Community Mental Health J. 2018;54(8):1266-73.

Bendria K, Mathew R, D¥souza S. A study to identify the abnormal eating behaviors among adolescents in selected colleges at Mangalore, Paripex. Indian j res. 2017;6(10):2017.

Nivedita N, Sreenivasa G, Sathyanarayana Rao TS, Malini SS. Eating disorders: Prevalence in the student population of Mysore, South India. Indian J Psychiatry 2018;60:433-7.

M BN, Ahmed M, B P. Perceived stress and source of stress among undergraduate medical students of Government Medical College, Mysore. Int J Community Med Public Health. 2018;5(8):3513-8.

Rosewall JK, Gleaves DH, Latner JD. An examination of risk factors that moderate the body dissatisfaction-eating pathology relationship among New Zealand adolescent girls. J Eat Disord. 2018;6:38.

Balhara YP, Mathur S, Kataria DK. Body shape and eating attitudes among female nursing students in India. East Asian Arch Psychiatry. 2012;22(2):70-4.

Gupta N, Bhargava R, Chavan BS, Sharan P. Eating attitudes and body shape concerns among medical students in Chandigarh. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2017;33:219-24.

Silverstone PH. Is chronic low self-esteem the cause of eating disorders? Med Hypotheses. 1992;39(4):311-5.