CP Science News: Mother and Daughter Research Findings

Mother and daughter research findings present an opportunity to improve the daughter’s health through family interventions.

This article sought to identify the associations between psychological profile and eating behavior of mothers and daughters with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Previous studies have been inconsistent with identifying these relationships, which may be the result of grouping all three eating disorders together. This study is innovative in its design because it separates AN, BN, and BED.

There is also a control group for comparison. The study incorporated BMI (body mass index), Eating Disorder Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Toronto Alexithymia Scale, and the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire. They used t-tests to look at the differences between dyads and Pearson’s correlation to look at the association between BMI, variables of eating behavior and psychological profile in each of the dyads.

Mother and Daughter Research Findings

When looking at the AN results, they found that there were significant differences between mothers and daughters in all variables except Externally Oriented thinking, Disinhibition, and Hunger. In addition, most of the correlations between the mother and daughter were inverse. This suggests that there is a conflict in identification with the mother in AN.

For BN, they found significant differences between mother and daughter in all variables including BMI. In addition, the daughter’s disinhibition inversely correlated with mother’s Dietary Restraint. This suggests that daughters and mothers both have difficulty restricting their eating. This is similar to a previous finding, which said that there was an association between disinhibition of mothers regarding food and free access to food and disinhibition in the daughters.

However, unlike past studies, this study found no association between body dissatisfaction between mother and daughter. In BED, they found that hunger of the mother was significantly correlated with disinhibition in the daughter and increased BMI in the daughter was correlated with lower drive for thinness in the mother. The authors are not aware of other studies reporting this relationship.

A Closer Look at the Mother-Daughter Relationship

In the control group, there were associations between the mother and daughter, which seemed normal given the nature of the mother-daughter relationship. The authors say that it is possible that the mothers in the control group had a positive influence on their daughters.

Overall, they found that there were associations between mothers and daughters with AN, BN, and BED, which varied depending on the specific diagnosis of the daughter. This research can be useful for treating eating disorders because this presents an opportunity to improve the daughter’s health either directly or indirectly through family interventions.


Eating behavior and psychological profile: associations between daughters with distinct eating disorders and their mothers