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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Jul;132(1):51-9. doi: 10.1111/acps.12389. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

Do eating disorders in parents predict eating disorders in children? Evidence from a Swedish cohort.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
2
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
3
Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University/Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
5
Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK.
6
Mental Health Sciences Unit, Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We investigated whether parental eating disorders (ED) predict ED in children, using a large multigeneration register-based sample.

METHOD:

We used a subset of the Stockholm Youth Cohort born 1984-1995 and resident in Stockholm County in 2001-2007 (N = 286,232), The exposure was a diagnosed eating disorder in a parent; the outcome was any eating disorder diagnosis in their offspring, given by a specialist clinician, or inferred from an appointment at a specialist eating disorder clinic. A final study sample of 158,697 (55.4%) had data on these variables and confounding factors and contributed a total of 886,241 person years to the analysis.

RESULTS:

We found good evidence in support of the hypothesis that ED in either parent are independently associated with ED in their female children (HR 1.97 (95% CI: 1.17-3.33), P = 0.01) and that ED in mothers are independently associated with ED in their female children (HR 2.35 (95% CI: 1.39-3.97) P = 0.001). Numbers were too low to permit separate analysis of ED in parents and their male children.

CONCLUSION:

Eating disorders in parents were associated with ED in children. This study adds to our knowledge about the intergenerational transmission of ED, which will help identify high-risk groups and brings about the possibility of targeted prevention.

KEYWORDS:

anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; eating disorder not otherwise specified; eating disorders; intergenerational

PMID:
25572654
DOI:
10.1111/acps.12389
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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