Objective: Few studies of eating disorder (ED) symptoms among young people in Iran have been conducted. This cross-sectional study examined ED symptoms, assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). Method: Adolescent boys (n = 498) and girls (n = 607) aged 12–19 years, recruited from schools in four different regions of Iran, completed a survey that included the EDE-Q. ED symptoms, namely, EDE-Q global scores and the occurrence of specific ED behaviors, were compared between boys and girls. Results: Girls had higher global scores and were more likely to report regular extreme dietary restriction than boys (16.6 vs. 12.0%). The effect sizes for these differences were small. The regular occurrence of other behaviors (girls vs. boys—binge eating: 21.1 vs. 18.8%; self-induced vomiting: 3.3 vs. 5.4%; laxative misuse: 6.1 vs. 7.6%; excessive exercise: 5.3 vs. 4.4%) did not significantly differ by gender. Twelve percent of boys and 12.9% of girls met criteria for an operational definition of “probable ED case.”. Conclusion: ED symptoms appear to be relatively common among Iranian adolescent boys and girls. Programs designed to reduce the occurrence and adverse impact of these symptoms may therefore be increasingly important.
- eating disorder symptoms
- gender differences