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03-10-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2017

Female Adolescents with Eating Disorders, Parental Psychopathological Risk and Family Functioning

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2017
Auteurs:
Mimma Tafà, Silvia Cimino, Giulia Ballarotto, Fabrizia Bracaglia, Chiara Bottone, Luca Cerniglia

Abstract

Epidemiological studies on adolescents with eating disorders demonstrate a high prevalence of disordered eating behaviors, with a higher prevalence of eating disorders among girls. Several studies have recently demonstrated an association between female adolescents’ eating disorders, parental psychopathological risk, and an impaired family functioning with poor quality of the relationships among family members. On the basis of these premises, we conducted a cross-sectional study initially recruiting 243 families of female adolescents affected by anorexia nervosa (Group A), bulimia nervosa (Group B), and binge eating disorder (Group C) (average age 14–17) to assess their psychological profile (SCL90-R), specific representations of their family functioning (FACES-IV), and the possible effect of adolescents’ psychological profiles and parents’ psychopathological risk on family functioning. Our results indicate that adolescents and parents in Groups A, B, and C show an unequivocal psychopathological profile; in particular, adolescents with anorexia present the most severe psychopathological risk. Further, our results show that adolescents and their parents differ in their perception of their family functioning. More specifically, adolescents with anorexia perceive their family as highly disengaged, poorly interwoven, and rigid, in addition cohesion and communication qualities are perceived as low. Interestingly, parental psychopathological risk predicts adolescents’ specific perception of their family functioning. These findings may guide clinical interventions as they suggest that distinct maternal psychopathological symptoms can be associated with a variety of clinical configurations in their offspring, whereas paternal psychopathological risk may be present in adolescents suffering from all forms of eating disorders.

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