The impact of retrospective childhood maltreatment on eating disorders as mediated by food addiction: A cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: The current study aimed to test whether food addiction (FA) might mediate the relationship between the presence of a history of childhood maltreatment and eating disorder (ED) symptom severity. Methods: Participants were 231 patients with ED presenting between May 2017 and January 2020 to a daycare treatment facility for assessment and management with mainly the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), the Child Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), and the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS 2.0). Results: Participants had a median age of 24 (interquartile range (IQR) 20–33) years and manifested anorexia nervosa (61.47%), bulimia nervosa (16.88%), binge-eating disorders (9.09%), and other types of ED (12.55%). They were grouped into those likely presenting FA (N = 154) and those without FA (N = 77). The group with FA reported higher scores on all five CTQ subscales, as well as the total score of the EDI-2 (p < 0.001). Using mediation analysis; significant indirect pathways between all CTQ subscales and the EDI-2 total score emerged via FA, with the largest indirect effect emerging for physical neglect (standardized effect = 0.208; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.127–0.29) followed by emotional abuse (standardized effect = 0.183; 95% CI 0.109–0.262). Conclusion: These results are compatible with a model in which certain types of childhood maltreatment, especially physical neglect, may induce, maintain, and/or exacerbate ED symptoms via FA which may guide future treatments.


  • Khalil, RB
  • Sleilaty, G
  • Richa, S
  • Seneque, M
  • Iceta, S
  • Rodgers, Rachel
  • Alacreu-Crespo, A
  • Maimoun, L
  • Lefebvre, P
  • Renard, E
  • Courtet, P
  • Guillaume, S

publication date

  • October 1, 2020