Tabler, Jennifer (2016). The influence of eating disorders on fertility trajectories.
There is a well-documented link between eating disorders and adverse physical health outcomes, infertility in particular. Fertility marks an important transition to adulthood, setting the stage for future opportunities or experiences. Drawing on sociological theories of the life course, this study explores the ways in which eating disorders influence fertility trajectories of women. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Utah Population Database, this study offers innovative and substantial contributions to the current literature on eating disorders and fertility by (1) assessing how sampling and eating disorder measurement shapes the inferences we make about the influence of eating disorders on fertility, (2) addressing potential familial and genetic confounding factors by utilizing a sibling-comparison design, (3) assessing the influence of eating disorder disease type on fertility outcomes, and (4) proposing and testing potential social mechanisms through which eating disorders influence fertility outcomes. The results indicate that the influence of eating disorders on the parity and fertility timing of women is complex. Sampling and measurement shapes the inferences we make about the influence of eating disorder on fertility outcomes, and fertility trajectories vary by eating disorder disease type. Theoretical and methodological explanations for these results are discussed as well as future research directions.
Utz, Rebecca L.
University of Utah