The Relationship Between Maternal Psychopathology and Acute Treatment Outcomes of Children and Adolescents Diagnosed With Anorexia Nervosa




Spector, Sarah Melissa

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Recent studies have suggested that maternal psychopathology influences the psychiatric status of children. However, there is a lack of research in the eating disorder literature pertaining to the impact of maternal psychopathology, specifically related to depression and eating disordered cognitions, on a child or adolescent diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Therefore, this study investigated the relationship between maternal psychopathology and eating disorders. Specifically, this study examined the relationship between maternal eating disordered cognitions and depression and severity of child's psychopathology, as well as the relationship between maternal eating disordered cognitions and acute treatment outcomes of a child or adolescent diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. The sample consisted of 43 children and adolescents between the ages of ten and seventeen years of age, with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or eating disorder not otherwise specified. All subjects were being treated at Children's Medical Center psychiatric unit as an inpatient or partial hospitalization patient. At entry to treatment, all patients were administered a structured clinical interview to obtain comprehensive psychiatric diagnoses. Additionally, subjects and their mothers or female caregivers completed self-report measures of eating disordered cognitions and depressive symptomatology. The relationship between maternal psychopathology, child eating disordered psychopathology, and relationship to treatment outcome was assessed. Results revealed a significant relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and the severity of the child's eating disordered cognitions. However, despite the expectation that the degree of maternal eating disordered cognitions at admission would predict the child's outcome over an acute period of treatment, no significant relationship was found. Results from this study suggest that maternal depression may play a more influential role in the child's eating disorder psychopathology than maternal eating disordered cognitions.

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