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Br J Psychiatry. 2000 Feb;176:132-7.

Parental high concern and adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa. A case-control study to investigate direction of causality.

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1
North Bristol NHS Trust, Southmead Hospital, Bristol.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Robust evidence that anorexia nervosa is preceded rather than accompanied by high-concern (overprotective) parenting is limited.

AIMS:

To look for evidence of parental high concern occurring before any onset of disorder.

METHOD:

Forty consecutive referrals of adolescent girls with DSM-III-R anorexia nervosa were compared with matched controls using obstetric records and maternal interviews.

RESULTS:

Index mothers reported higher rates of: near-exclusive child care (P = 0.02), infant sleep difficulties (P = 0.018), severe distress at first regular separation (P = 0.048), high maternal trait anxiety levels (P = 0.008) and later age for first sleeping away from home (P = 0.009). More index families had experienced a severe obstetric loss prior to their daughter's birth (P = 0.066).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study lends evidence to the clinical contention that high-concern parenting in infancy is associated with the later development of anorexia nervosa. This may derive, in part, from aspects of unresolved grief.

PMID:
10755049
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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