Parenting styles and eating disorder pathology

Appetite. 2009 Jun;52(3):784-787. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.02.013. Epub 2009 Mar 5.


Our objective was to investigate the association between parenting style and eating disorder symptoms in patients treated in an intensive outpatient center for eating disorders. The study design is a cross-sectional survey set in a community-based facility for eating disorders. Participants included 53 families, including 32 with a child meeting the DSM-IV criteria for anorexia nervosa, 18 for bulimia nervosa, and 3 diagnosed ED-NOS. Data was collected using the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ), the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Significant, negative correlations were found between drive for thinness scores and body dissatisfaction scores and the patient's perception of the father as authoritative. Total patient EDI score was significantly and positively correlated with patient's perception of the father as authoritarian and inversely correlated with her perception of him as authoritative. These results emphasize the importance of fathers' role in the eating disorder pathology, a relatively untapped area of research.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Authoritarianism*
  • Body Image
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult