It is vital to elucidate how risk factors work together to predict eating disorder onset because it should improve the yield of prevention efforts. Risk factors that have predicted eating disorder onset in multiple studies include low body mass index (BMI) for anorexia nervosa; thin-ideal internalization, perceived pressure to be thin, body dissatisfaction, dieting, and negative affect for bulimia nervosa; and body dissatisfaction and dieting for purging disorder. No such risk factors have been identified for binge eating disorder. Classification tree analyses have identified several amplifying interactions, mitigating interactions, and alternative pathway interactions between risk factors, such as evidence that elevated BMI amplifies the risk between appearance overvaluation and the future onset of recurrent binge eating. However, there have been no tests of mediational risk factor models in the prediction of eating disorder onset. Gaps in the literature are identified and procedures for providing rigorous tests of interactive and mediational etiologic models are outlined.


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