Background. A review is presented of research on the relationship between sexual abuse in childhood and eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) in later life.
Review. In a majority of reviewed studies such a relationship was found. Eating disorder severity was associated with experiencing also other kinds of violence in the same period. The need for distress reduction and attempts at regaining control over own body are regarded as a psychopathological mechanism underlying eating disorders.
Conclusions. The problem should be taken into account in clinical practice.