Eating problems and the observed quality of mother-daughter interactions among girls with type 1 diabetes

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2001 Dec;69(6):950-8.


This study examined how eating problems are linked to autonomy and intimacy in the observed interactions of 88 diabetic girls (M = 14.9 years) and their mothers. On the basis of self-reported symptoms, teens were classified as having no eating problems (n = 40), mild eating problems (n = 30), and frequent eating problems (n = 18). Mothers and daughters participated in 2 videotaped problem-solving tasks (1 diabetes related and I a general parent-teen issue) that were rated with a macroanalytic coding system (Autonomy and Intimacy Rating System). Compared with interactions among mothers and daughters with no eating problems, interactions among mothers and daughters with eating problems simultaneously constrained the expression of autonomy and intimacy. Findings support clinical theory that links eating problems to emotional misattunement in the mother-daughter relationship, which is postulated to interfere with the teen's capacity for individuation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Problem Solving
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires