Family functioning and maternal distress in adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa

Leslie A. Sim, Jason H. Homme, Aida N. Lteif, Jennifer L. Vande Voort, Kathryn M. Schak, Jarrod Ellingson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the nature of family distress in families of girls with anorexia nervosa (AN), this study compared aspects of family functioning in adolescent girls with AN to girls with a chronic illness and girls without a condition. Method: Participants consisted of 25 adolescent girls with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of AN, 20 girls with an ICD-10 diagnosis of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and 20 girls from the community. Mothers and daughters completed questionnaires of family functioning and psychological symptoms. Results: When compared with mothers of daughters with IDDM, families of girls with AN experienced greater family conflict, reduced parental alliance, and increased feelings of depression. However, once the emotional impact of the illness on the mothers was statistically controlled, group differences were no longer significant. Discussion: Family distress and dysfunction may reflect an accommodation process that occurs in families living with a child with AN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Adolescence
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Family functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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