After reading this article, especially the reference papers, my conclusion is 'yes'!
Many experts believe that vegan diets (and other types of vegetarian diets) can increase the risk of eating disorders. Some treatment centers consider the reintroduction of meat a necessary part of recovery. These beliefs are based on data released between 1997 and 2009 that reported significantly higher rates of disturbed-eating attitudes and behaviors, restrained eating, and disordered eating among vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians.1-5
Currently, approximately 50 percent of adolescents and young women with anorexia nervosa eat some form of vegetarian diet; whereas only 6 to 34 percent of their nonanorexic peers in the general population eat a vegetarian diet.6
1. Lindeman M et al. Vegetarianism and eating-disordered thinking. Eating Disorders. 2000; 8(2):157–165. 85.
2. Bas M et al. Vegetarianism and eating disorders: Association between eating attitudes and other psychological factors among Turkish adolescents. Appetite. 2005; 44(3):309–315.
As a conclusion, the present study indicated abnormal eating attitudes, low self-esteem, high social physique anxiety, and high trait anxiety in Turkish vegetarian adolescents. The vegetarian adolescents may be more likely to display disordered eating attitudes and behaviors than nonvegetarians.
3. Klopp SA et al. Self-reported vegetarianism may be a marker for college women at risk for disordered eating. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003; 103(6):745–747.
A significantly higher (P less than 0.0001) proportion of the vegetarians (37%) compared with nonvegetarians (8%) had EAT scores greater than 30 (indicating eating disorder risk). There was no difference in supplement use or meal skipping between the two groups. In conclusion, self-reported vegetarian college women may be more likely to display disordered eating attitudes and behaviors than nonvegetarians.
4. Neumark-Sztainer D et al. Adolescent vegetarians. A behavioral profile of a schoolbased population in Minnesota. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 1997 Aug;151(8):833-8.
Vegetarians were almost twice as likely to report frequent dieting (P less than .001), 4 times as likely to report intentional vomiting (P less than .001), and 8 times as likely to report laxative use (P less than .001) than nonvegetarians. Overall, associations with other health-compromising and health-promoting behaviors were not apparent.
5. Robinson-O’Brien R et al. Adolescent and young adult vegetarianism: better dietary intake and weight outcomes but increased risk of disordered eating behaviors. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(4):648–55.
This study shows that in a group of 17 year old, binge eating with loss of control occurs among 21.2% (current vegetarians), 16.0%(former vegetarians) and 4.4%(never-vegetarians).
6. Bardone-Cone AM et al. The inter-relationships between vegetarianism and eating disorders among females. J Acad Nutr Diet. 201;112(8):1247–52.
Compared to controls, individuals with an eating disorder history were significantly more likely to ever have been vegetarian (52% vs. 12%), to be currently vegetarian (24% vs. 6%), and to be primarily motivated by weight-related reasons (42% vs. 0%). The three recovery status groups (fully recovered, partially recovered, active eating disorder) did not differ significantly in percentiles endorsing a history of vegetarianism or weight-related reasons as primary, but they differed significantly in current vegetarianism (33% of active cases, 13% of partially recovered, 5% of fully recovered). Most perceived that their vegetarianism was related to their eating disorder (68%) and emerged after its onset.