Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Eating disorders in adolescence-Risk factors, Unhealth weight control behaviors, Latent class analysis, Youth risk behavior surveillance system, YRBS, Eating disorders, BMI, Body mass index, Adolesents, LCA


This quantitative secondary analysis was undertaken to determine if classes of risk exist for the use of Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors (UWCBs) in adolescents. Engagement in UWCBs increases the likelihood that an adolescent would develop a full-syndrome eating disorder, which are both difficult and expensive to treat. Using data previously collected as part of the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, it was possible to conduct a Latent Class Analysis (LCA) using 8,885 responses which contained data about a number of potential risk factors that might influence a participant’s likelihood to engage in UWCBs. Factors considered were gender, race/ethnicity, experiences of violence, cigarette use, alcohol use, drug use, suicidality, and Body Mass Index (BMI). The LCA showed that a model containing four classes of risk was the best fit for this data. Each class was defined by specific characteristics and varying levels of risk for engagement in UWCBs. This four class model can be used by clinicians working with adolescents to identify clients who might be at particularly high risk of using UWCBs and empower clinicians to intervene before a full syndrome eating disorder is developed.




iv, 35 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 29-34)

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