IJCNMH ARCpublishing

Issue: Issue 5 – 2018

Review Article

Family systems, offspring and eating disorders: Can perfectionism close the gaps?

Tiago Santos, Cristiana Marques, Ana Telma Pereira, Sandra C. Soares, and António Ferreira Macedo
Research on the etiology and risk factors of Eating Disorders (ED) combines several dimensions in complex interactions. Classical and more modern theoretical approaches are consistent in acknowledging a web of cultural, family and neurobiological aspects, at both inter and intrapersonal levels. Although such approaches have contributed to a deeper comprehension in this domain, a robust conceptual framework that fully integrates all the different elements is still lacking. Herein, we aim at tackling such integrative account, by presenting a review of past and current research based on three major dimensions: perfectionism, parenting and family dynamics, and offspring’s behavior and characteristics. Given their critical role in ED across different conceptual frameworks, these dimensions have been consistently pointed out as associated with ED. The available data suggests that perfectionism may be taken not only at an individual level but also as a family phenotype. Furthermore, it may be the link between intrapersonal factors in the onset and development of ED, and interpersonal factors, particularly parenting styles and family dynamics. The current integrative framework may aid in the disclosure of some of the underlying processes by which personal and contextual factors interact and translate into illness and, therefore, contribute to new insights regarding the role of families and parents-child interaction in the etiology of ED and to more effective therapeutic interventions at both individual and family level.

Keywords: Eating Disorders, Parenting Styles, Perfectionism, Offspring.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2018; 5:6
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21035/ijcnmh.2018.5.6
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