Methods: Data and Sample: A secondary data analysis was conducted using the 2017-2018 Healthy Minds Study. The analytic sample included a representative sample of over 11,500 cisgender males currently enrolled in college.
Statistical Analysis: The analysis was conducted using hierarchal logistic regression models to estimate the effects of screening positive for an eating disorder using the SCOFF scale and a self-reported 12-month history of NSSI, a self-reported 12-month history of suicidal ideation, and a self-reported 12-month history of a suicide attempt when controlling for age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, degree program, flourishing (Flourishing Scale), academic impact, sense of belonging, and residence.
Results: Findings indicate that college-enrolled cisgender males who screened positive for an eating disorder, compared to those who did not, had greater odds of a self-reported 12-month history of NSSI (OR=1.65, p<.001) and a self-reported 12-month history of suicidal ideation (OR=1.37, p<.001). There was no statistically significant relationship between screening positive for an eating disorder and a self-reported 12-month history of a suicide attempt. In both models analyzing NSSI and suicidal ideation, college-enrolled males who screened positive for an eating disorder, compared to those who did not, had significantly greater odds of identifying as a sexual minority, Hispanic, or Asian, screening positive for depression and anxiety, reporting illicit drug use in the previous 30 days, and were not flourishing. Age, degree program, residence, academic impact, sense of belonging, and alcohol use were not significantly associated with screening positive for an eating disorder in these models.
Conclusions and Implications: Findings from this study indicate that NSSI and suicidal ideation are positively associated with eating disorders among college-enrolled cisgender males. From these findings, social workers should simultaneously screen for eating disorders, NSSI, and suicidal ideation in college-enrolled cisgender males, particularly among those who identify as a sexual minority, Hispanic, or Asian, have depression or anxiety, report illicit drug use, and are not flourishing. A 12-month history of a suicide attempt was not significantly associated with a positive eating disorder screen, which is surprising given the high rates of suicide among college males and individuals with eating disorders.