Thesis Title

Eating Disorders and Alcohol Use in College Women

Date of Graduation

Fall 2003


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


A majority of American college women exhibit at least a few of the symptoms of disordered eating. Prevalence studies have shown that it is common for 15 percent or more of college campus women to meet diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (Cooley & Torey, 2001). Many current studies have reported a high incidence of alcohol use on college campuses, which leads to a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Disordered eating is associated with significant health problems and alcohol consumption adds additional health risks. The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the relationship between alcohol use and eating disorders in college women. A framework for this study was developed from a review of the literature. Secondary analysis was performed on an existing data set by Hope and Yarbrough (1998). Hope and Yarbrough (1998) conducted a cross sectional survey of college females, ages 18 and older, who lived in dormitories on a Midwest University campus. The study was designed to assess risk factors of college women in regard to preconceptual health. The data was statistically analyzed for descriptive measures such as frequency, distributions, percentages, central tendency, and correlation coefficient. Findings reported 2/3 of the sample population currently use alcohol or have in the past. The percentage of college women with anorexia, and/or bulimia, was less than population norms set forth by the DSM-IV (APA, 2000). No significant relationship was found between alcohol use and eating disorders. Also, no difference was found in the percentages between the non-eating disorder population and eating disorder population in alcohol frequency and amount. These findings can be used to aid healthcare professionals in providing education and services for the female college population.

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© Amy E. Lunn-Shell