An Examination of Sex Differences in a Disease-Specific Model of Disordered Eating Behaviors in Type 1 Diabetes.
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OBJECTIVE: Preliminary evidence supports the integration of type 1 diabetes (T1D) disease-specific factors into eating disorder risk models. The current study explored whether cross-sectional associations among constructs included in the modified dual pathway model of eating disorder risk for individuals with T1D are similar across sex among adolescents and young adults with T1D. METHODS: Original study participants were recruited from the T1D Exchange Clinic Network, a U.S. registry of individuals with T1D. Online surveys included measures of general eating disorder risk factors, hypothesized T1D-specific risk factors, and a T1D-specific eating disorder questionnaire. The current study is a secondary analysis with the adolescents (13-17 years; n = 307; 46.9% female) and young adults (18-25 years; n = 313; 62.6% female) from the original sample. In the absence of strong measurement invariance for all measures of interest, sex-specific path models were estimated among the adolescent and young adult cohorts. RESULTS: Only two paths emerged as significant in the female, but not male, adolescent model. In the young adult cohort, all significant paths were the same across sex. CONCLUSIONS: Both general and T1D-specific risk factors are associated with disordered eating behaviors in the T1D population. Patterns of associations were similar across male and female youth with T1D, suggesting that sex-specific prevention approaches to disordered eating behaviors among T1D youth may not be warranted.