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Br J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;189:324-9.

Eating habits and attitudes among 10-year-old children of mothers with eating disorders: longitudinal study.

Author information

  • 1Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. alan.stein@psych.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Children of mothers with eating disorders are at increased risk of developmental disturbance, but there has been little research in middle childhood, when disturbed eating habits tend to emerge.

AIMS:

To examine whether maternal eating disorders identified in the postnatal year are associated with the development of disturbed eating habits and attitudes in children at 10 years of age.

METHOD:

Follow-up comparative study of 56 families (33 mothers with eating disorders and 23 controls). Psychopathology of children, mothers and fathers was assessed by interview, and mother-child interaction observed.

RESULTS:

The index group of children scored higher than controls on three of four domains of eating disorder psychopathology and on a global score. Children's eating disturbance was associated with length of exposure to mothers' eating disorder and mother-child mealtime conflict at 5 years. There was some evidence of increased emotional problems in index children.

CONCLUSIONS:

The children of mothers with eating disorders manifested disturbed eating habits and attitudes compared with controls, and may be at heightened risk of developing frank eating disorder psychopathology.

PMID:
17012655
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1888733
Free PMC Article
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