Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Depression and anxiety in early adulthood following adolescent onset disordered eating: a longitudinal study

Disordered eating is common among adolescent females. Clinical eating disorders are associated with high rates of depression and anxiety in adulthood. However, the extent to which this is the case for subthreshold disordered eating remains unclear, and raises issues for early detection and intervention, prognosis and treatment planning. The current study aimed to enhance knowledge on the longitudinal course of adolescent onset disordered eating and young adult psychopathology (specifically depression and anxiety); and to establish whether the outcomes differed among males and females. Longitudinal data from a large community sample, the Australian Temperament Project (ATP) was utilized, with respect to disordered eating staus during adolescence and mood and anxiety symptoms in early adulthood (N = 686). Overall, adolescents meeting the criteria for subthreshold disordered eating have higher levels of anxiety in adulthood compared to the non-disordered eating group. Furthermore, males with disordered eating experienced higher levels of depression at eight-year follow up. Given the level of subsequent psychopathology associated with adolescent onset disordered eating, targeting preventative interventions at adolescents with subthreshold disordered eating may reduce the risk of developing a clinical eating disorder as well as reducing the risk of developing depression and anxiety in early adulthood.

This abstract was presented in the Disordered Eating and Body Image stream of the 2014 ANZAED Conference.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Linda Varcoe.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Varcoe, L., King, R. & Olsen, C. Depression and anxiety in early adulthood following adolescent onset disordered eating: a longitudinal study. J Eat Disord 2 (Suppl 1), O57 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: