Mothers, daughters, and disordered eating

J Abnorm Psychol. 1991 May;100(2):198-204. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.100.2.198.


We examined features of 77 mothers' attitudes and behavior that relate to disordered eating among their adolescent daughters. Mothers whose daughters reported a level of disordered eating comparable with clinical samples of bulimic patients were compared with mothers whose daughters reported a low level of eating disturbances. As hypothesized, mothers of daughters with disordered eating were more dissatisfied with the general functioning of the family system. Also, mothers whose daughters were eating disordered were themselves more eating disordered and differed in their dieting history compared with mothers of the girls who were not eating disordered. Furthermore, mothers of girls with disordered eating thought their daughters should lose more weight than mothers of girls who were not eating disordered. They also thought that their daughters were less attractive than the girls judged themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Family / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis