The etiology of eating disorders is complex. According to Stice (2002), eating disorders are seldom induced by a single cause but compounded by multi-dimensional risk factors that are mutually interactive . The prognosis is also affected by individual differences. Due to their complex and unpredictable nature, there is neither a single formula nor a golden rule to illustrate all cases. Hitherto, studies of eating disorders still have no conclusion about the absolute causal relationships, only some risk factors which are of relatively higher risks could be identified for attention. In general, it is possible that people of different ages, races, sex or social backgrounds would suffer from eating disorders.
The followings are the summary of the risk factors coming from the laboratory studies and clinical observations from all over the world. It provides some clues or guidelines for investigating the causes of eating disorders. However, it is for reference only and if someone wants to look into his/her individual causes, it would be better to receive camprehensive clinical assessment from the professionals.
 Stice, E. (2002). Risk and maintenance factors for eating pathology: A Meta-analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 128(5), 825-848.