What role do early life experiences play in eating disorders? The impact of parenting style, temperament and early maladaptive schemas

Phoebe R. Joshua, Vivienne Lewis, Susan Simpson, Sally F. Kelty, Douglas P. Boer

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Abstract

Objective: Given that most eating disorders develop in adolescence and early adulthood, early life experiences are said to play a key role in the aetiology of eating disorders. There are well-documented relationships between early maladaptive schemas and eating disorders, early maladaptive schemas and temperament and temperament and perceived parenting style. The present study aimed to test a hypothesis that perceived parenting style predicts temperament, which predicts early maladaptive schemas, which predict eating disorder symptoms in young people. Method: An online survey measured perceived parenting style, temperament, early maladaptive schemas and eating disorder symptoms in 397 people with disordered eating between the ages of 18 and 29. Path analysis was used to investigate the relationship between these elements. Results: The results found support for this hypothesis. Perceived maladaptive parenting ratings for mothers were a stronger predictor of temperament, and only two temperament factors were adequate predictors of early maladaptive schemas. Conclusions: Overall, the present study found preliminary support for a linear relationship where perceived parenting style predicts temperament, which predicts early maladaptive schema levels, which predicts eating disorder symptoms. The present study was the first to propose and test this model; however, further research is required to confirm the nature and extent of this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2904
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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