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11-04-2015 | Uitgave 7/2015

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 7/2015

Perceived Expressed Emotion in Adolescents with Binge-Eating Disorder

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 7/2015
Ricarda Schmidt, Anne Tetzlaff, Anja Hilbert


A sizeable body of research has documented Expressed Emotion (EE) to predict clinical outcomes in various psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders. Patients’ perceptions of relative’s EE, however, were found to play an important role in the processing of EE. This study aimed to examine the level of perceived EE in adolescent binge-eating disorder (BED) and its impact on eating disorder psychopathology. Adolescents (12–20 years) seeking treatment for BED (n = 40) were compared to adolescents without current or lifetime eating disorder (CG; n = 40). Both groups were stratified according to age, sex, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), and socio-economic status. The Five Minute Speech Sample (FMSS) and the Brief Dyadic Scale of EE were administered to assess patients’ perceived maternal EE. Additionally, adolescents and mothers completed questionnaires on eating disorder and general psychopathology. On the FMSS, 37.5 % of patients with BED perceived their mothers as high EE (vs. 12.5 % in the CG). On the Brief Dyadic Scale of EE, patients with BED reported significantly higher levels of perceived maternal criticism, emotional overinvolvement, and lower levels of perceived warmth than controls. After controlling for the diagnosis of BED, perceived criticism and warmth, as assessed by questionnaire, significantly explained adolescents’ global eating disorder psychopathology. Negative perceptions of maternal behavior and emotional atmosphere towards the child are characteristic of adolescent BED. As documented for other eating disorders, family factors are likely to have substantial implications for the maintenance and treatment of adolescent BED.

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