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Fifty Shades of Grey Linked to Abusive Partners

Update Date: Aug 22, 2014 01:29 AM EDT
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Reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" increases the risk of eating disorders and verbally abusive partners, according to a study on young women.

Researchers from Michigan State University found that women who read all three books of the "Fifty Shades" series were more likely to binge drink and have multiple sex partners. Researchers said this is important because all these behaviors increase the risk of being trapped in an abusive relationship.

"If women experienced adverse health behaviors such as disordered eating first, reading 'Fifty Shades' might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma," lead researcher Amy Bonomi, chairperson and professor in MSU's Department of Human Development and Family Studies, said in a news release.

"Likewise, if they read 'Fifty Shades' before experiencing the health behaviors seen in our study, it's possible the books influenced the onset of these behaviors," she added.

The latest study involved more than 650 women between the ages of 18 and 24. Researchers found that women who read the first "Fifty Shades" book were 25 percent more likely to have a partner who yelled or cursed at them; 34 percent more likely to have a partner who showed stalking tendencies; and more than 75 percent more likely to have used diet aids or fasted for more than 24 hours, according to researchers.

However, those who read all three books were 65 percent more likely than nonreaders to binge drink (drink five or more drinks on a single occasion on six or more days per month) and 63 percent more likely to have five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime.

"We recognize that the depiction of violence against women in and of itself is not problematic, especially if the depiction attempts to shed serious light on the problem," Bonomi said. "The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it."

The findings are published in the Journal of Women's Health.

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