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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2012 December;53(4):333-42

language: Italian

Family functioning and eating disorders

Amianto F., Bertorello A., Marech L., Pagnanelli R., Abbate Daga G., Fassino S.

Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Sezione Psichiatria, Università di Torino, Torino, Italia


OBJECTIVE: Our study evaluates the perception of family functioning in the family members of patients with eating disorders and analyzes the specific aspects that differentiate diagnostic subgroups: anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).
METHODS: 171 subjects (103 affected by AN and 68 by BN) were assessed at the admission with regard to depressive symptoms, eating psychopathology and family functioning through the following psychometric tests: the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Eating disorder Inventory (EDI-2) and the Family Assessment Device (FAD). Even the parents of the patients were assessed the test FAD.
RESULTS: The mothers of patients with eating disorders report the more positive view of family functioning while patients are the family member with the most critical perception. In patients with BN are found more pathological scores compared to patients suffering from AN, with significant differences in family roles and affective involvement that persist using as confounding depressive symptoms persist assessed with the BDI test. The perception of family functioning assessed by the daughters correlates well with their eating psychopathology, while a few correlations are found with FAD scores of parents.
CONCLUSIONS: The study highlights the influence of family dynamics on the eating psychopathology of patients and emphasizes the presence of a low awareness on altered family dynamics, in mothers of patients confirmed as an immature parental figure.

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