alexa Disordered Eating Patterns in University Students and Links with Stress Coping; a Literature Review and Discussion | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN 2573-0347

Advanced Practices in Nursing
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Review Article

Disordered Eating Patterns in University Students and Links with Stress Coping; a Literature Review and Discussion

Power JJ*

Queen’s University Belfast, Nursing, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT97BL, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Dr John J Power
Lecturer (Education), Queen’s University Belfast
Nursing, 97 Lisburn Road
Belfast, BT97BL, UK
Tel: 02890972392
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: November 23, 2016; Accepted date: March 03, 2016; Published date: March 10, 2016

Citation: Power JJ (2016) Disordered Eating Patterns in University Students and Links with Stress Coping; a Literature Review and Discussion. Adv Practice Nurs 1:108. doi:10.4172/2573-0347.1000108

Copyright: © 2016 Power JJ, et al., This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Aim: To provide a narrative review of the literature and discussion addressing the issue of young university undergraduate students, patterns of disordered eating and the relationship between stress and stress coping.

Background: The term disordered eating reflects the spectrum of disturbed eating patterns, including anorexia nervosa and bulimic nervosa. In the last three decades a significant amount of research has been undertaken internationally in relation to this area, with increasing concern as disordered eating impacts upon the individual’s long-term health prospects, but also their ability to function and achieve as undergraduate students.

Methods: A narrative review and discussion of the literature from 1980, against 7 databases with assessment of the papers applying a quality criteria scale. 35 papers were finally included for consideration in this review.

Conclusion: There are a large number of young undergraduate students probably struggling with or at risk from disordered eating. A significant proportion of this may be undisclosed and presents sub-clinically. There may be issues relating to mental health in some of the cases, but the literature suggests at least a proportion of the students are perhaps struggling with stress/distress and poorly developed coping resources. The emergence of or exacerbation of disordered eating may present as a negative coping response. The discussion and review suggests a need for greater qualitative enquiry to expose more of the student’s voice in terms of eating and their stress/distress experience. Such deeper enquiry might better inform support for young students in managing stress in the early years at University.


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