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Two-phase survey of eating disorders in gifted dance and non-dance high-school students in Taiwan

  • MEG MEI-CHIH TSENG (a1) (a2) (a3), DAVID FANG (a4), MING-BEEN LEE (a1), WEI-CHU CHIE (a2), JEN-PEI LIU (a5) and WEI J. CHEN (a1) (a2) (a6)...

Despite a growing body of literature reporting eating disorders (EDs) in non-Western countries in recent years, most of these studies are limited to questionnaire-based surveys or case-series studies. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of EDs in Taiwanese high-school students.


The study subjects consisted of all the female high-school students enrolled in the gifted dance class in 2003 in Taiwan (n=655) and non-dance female students randomly chosen from the same school (n=1251). All the participants were asked to complete self-report questionnaires, including the 26-item Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Bulimic Investigatory Test Edinburgh (BITE). All the screen positives and an approximate 10% random sample of the screen negatives were then interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I Disorders Patient Version (SCID-I/P).


The prevalence of individual EDs was much higher in the dance [0·7% for anorexia nervosa (AN), 2·5% for bulimia nervosa (BN) and 4·8% for EDs, not otherwise specified (EDNOS)] than in the non-dance (0·1, 1·0 and 0·7% respectively) students. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that being in the dance class, higher concern about body shape and lower family support were correlates of EDs for all students, whereas lower parental education level was associated with EDs only for non-dance students.


EDs were more prevalent in the weight-concerned subpopulation. Although AN is still rare, BN has emerged as a comparable prevalent disorder in Taiwan, as in Western countries.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr Wei J. Chen, Institute of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, 17 Xu-Zhou Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan. (Email:
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
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