Alcohol related vomiting in a New Zealand University sample: frequency, gender differences, and correlates
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship, frequency, gender differences, situations and motivations of self-induced vomiting after drinking alcohol with disordered eating, alcohol use and psychopathology; with a nonclinical university sample of males and females in New Zealand. Participants were 102 male and 159 female university students ranging in age from 17-35 years who completed a survey designed for this study along with tests that measure eating disordered attitudes and behaviours, bulimia symptoms, depression and alcohol use. Overall, 90.04% of the sample reported that they drink alcohol and, of that subset, 57.58% of males and 42.26% of females reported having self-induced vomiting after drinking alcohol. The behaviour was related to eating pathology, depression and alcohol use with gender differences apparent. Specifically, on measures of disordered eating, females who self-induce vomiting after drinking alcohol scored higher than females who do not report the behaviour (no difference apparent for males), and overall, females scored higher than males. In terms of hazardous alcohol use, males who self-induce vomiting after drinking alcohol scored higher than males who do not with the same true for females, and overall males scored higher than females. In terms of drinking at the dependency level, individuals who reported self-induced vomiting after drinking alcohol drink at a more harmful level than those who do not (both males and females) and more males than females reported hazardous alcohol usage rates. When examining depressed symptoms, females who selfinduce vomiting after drinking alcohol reported more depressed symptoms than females who do not, with males who reported the behaviour endorsing less depressed symptoms than males who do not. Overall, females indicated more depressed symptoms than males. Persons who engaged in the behaviour were more likely to endorse it as being acceptable, with this trend being stronger for males. Females who self-induce vomiting after drinking were more likely to endorse symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and depression, whereas males who reported the behaviour were more likely to indicate harmful drinking levels, and perform the behaviour to carry on drinking. Thus, for males, self-induced vomiting after drinking alcohol was related to substance abuse whereas, for females, the behaviour may be more related to disordered eating.