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Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2017 Sep;45(5):361-369. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917/a000495. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Psychiatric Disorders and Personality Styles in Mothers of Female Adolescent Patients with Eating Disorders.

Author information

1 Institute for Health and Behaviour, University of Luxembourg.
2 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Germany.
3 Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Germany.



To provide further insight into the presently poorly understood role of familial psychopathology in the development of eating disorders (ED).


The present study assesses psychiatric and personality disorders listed on Axis I and II of the DSM-IV in 27 mothers of adolescent patients with anorexia (AN mothers) and 14 bulimia nervosa (BN mothers) as well as 22 mentally healthy girls (CG mothers) on a categorical level. Furthermore, we conducted a dimensional diagnostic regarding personality styles and personality traits.


AN and BN mothers showed increased rates of Axis I disorders, especially affective, substance use, and anxiety disorders. Differences on Axis II did not reach statistical significance. However, BN mothers showed higher occurrences of paranoid, negativistic, and schizotypal personality styles compared to the other groups. BN mothers further showed higher occurrences than CG mothers of the personality traits excitability, aggressiveness, physical complaints, openness, and emotionality. AN mothers differed significantly from CG mothers on the scale demands.


Increased occurrence of psychopathology on both categorical and dimensional levels in mothers of patients with AN and BN supports the assumption of a familial accumulation of psychopathology in ED. Longitudinal studies and genetic analyses should clarify a possible cause-effect relationship and interactions between familial dynamics and adolescent ED.


adolescent patients; eating disorders; mothers; psychiatric disorders personality styles.

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