, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 353-359
Date: 16 Feb 2009

Influence of parent’s eating attitudes on eating disorders in school adolescents

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the relationship between parents’ cognitive and behavioural dimensions and the risk of eating disorders (ED) in non-clinical adolescents.

Methods

From an initial sample of 1,336 boys and girls with a mean age of 11.37, a total of 258 subjects were selected either as being at risk of ED or as controls. These subjects and their parents comprised the sample at T1 and were followed-up 2 years later (T2). We examined disordered eating attitudes, body dissatisfaction (BD), body mass index (BMI) and ED diagnoses in the adolescents at two points in time. We also used the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 to examine the disordered eating attitudes of their parents at T1.

Results

The mother’s BD, drive for thinness (DT), ineffectiveness and interoceptive awareness, and the father’s DT and perfectionism were related to long-term ED. Logistic regression showed that predictors of ED were being female, mother’s DT and social insecurity, and adolescent’s BD. The BMI was not a predictor in this model. Father’s perfectionism was a risk factor of ED.

Conclusion

Specific cognitive and behavioural dimensions of ED in both parents can influence the development of an ED in early adolescents. This should be taken into account in the prevention and family oriented treatment of ED.