Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 71–84 | Cite as

The Role of the Father in Anorexia

  • Joni F. Fitzgerald
  • Robert C. Lane


The literature on anorexia often overlooks the important role of the father in the complex etiology of the illness. This paper examines the father's role and how it impacts on the psychological development of his anorectic daughter. Premorbid and comorbid personality components such as dependency, perfectionism, and high achievement, are shown to be influenced by the father. His role is again significant at the onset of adolescence, when his daughter needs his affirmation as she struggles to make the transition from childhood to womanhood. Socialization of the sexes is implicated in hindering the father/daughter relationship, as is the father's fear of sexual attraction to his developing daughter. The effect of a patriarchal society on the development of anorexia in girls is also explored. The nature of the society we live in is thought to further complicate the anorectic girl's relationship with her father.


Public Health Social Psychology Psychological Development Sexual Attraction High Achievement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joni F. Fitzgerald
  • Robert C. Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Psychological StudiesNova Southeastern UniversityFt. Lauderdale

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