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Dyadic Adjustment in Parents

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Abstract:

Objective:

To study the dyadic adjustment in parents of daughters with an eating disorder (ED).

Method:

147 couples, 74 with a daughter with an ED: 20 with anorexia nervosa, restricting subtype (ANR), 23 with anorexia nervosa, bulimic subtype (ANB), and 31 with bulimia nervosa purging subtype (BN), and two control groups: 41 couples without pathology (CN group) and 32 couples with pathology (CNP group), evaluated with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ‐28), were assessed with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Self‐Rating Anxiety Scale.

Results:

The parents of daughters with an ED evidenced significantly worse dyadic adjustment than did the normal controls. When controlling for anxiety and depression, the dyadic satisfaction was lower in the mothers of daughters with ANR and BN, when compared to controls without pathology. The dyadic cohesion was lower in mothers of daughters with ANB, and the total adjustment was lower in the mothers of the ANB and BN groups versus CN group.

Conclusion:

These findings do not permit the attribution of the ED to the parents, because the poor dyadic adjustment could be an effect of the family burden. However, these findings suggest that treatment on ED should be supplemented by interventions aimed at the parents' dyadic adjustment. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; couple; dyadic adjustment; eating disorders; parents

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/erv.530

Affiliations: Family Therapy, Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatments Department, Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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