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Title: Early eating patterns of women with eating disorders
Author: Schulz, Constanze Anja
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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AIM: Anorexia, bulimia and obesity have become a problem for increasing numbers of females of all ages. Like eating itself, pathological eating patterns can be regarded as products of historical, societal, family and individual factors. The aim of the present study was to explore whether early experiences with food and eating influenced women's eating patterns in later life and furthermore if there are specific aspects of socialisation in regards to food which are associated with the development of a specific form of eating disorder. METHOD: The retrospective accounts of women with anorexia nervosa (n=18), bulimia nervosa (n=21) or severe obesity (n=18) were compared with those of women without an eating pathology (n=20). A semi-structured interview was conducted in addition to self-rating questionnaires about current eating behaviour (EDI, EAT, BITE) and relationships with parents and peers during childhood (PBI, PARTS). The data was analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. RESULTS: The families of the four sub-groups differed surprisingly little concerning food and eating. However, significant differences in the informants' relationship with their mothers were found, with the eating disordered women describing their mothers as less caring and more overprotective. In addition there was a positive correlation between this parenting style of 'affectionless control' and severity of eating pathology. Qualitative analysis underlined that the sub-groups differed not only in their experience of parental control but also in how they responded to it. Body shape as a child emerged as an important factor in interview and questionnaires. Heavier weight in childhood was' associated with earlier onset of dieting and persistent negative body image. All three eating disordered sub-groups described themselves as being heavier as children and reported more size related teasing by peers and (in particular male) family members. CONCLUSION: The literature reviewed and the present study add further weight to the evidence of a link between early eating related experiences and the later manifestation of eating problems. However the link between socialisation in regards to food and eating and the development of a specific form of eating disorder is more tentative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available