The Effects Of Disordered Eating Behavior On College Relationships

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The Impact of Disordered Eating Behavior on College Relationships: A Qualitative Study Research on eating disorders has historically focused on experiences of those suffering from the disorders; however, the National Institutes of Health warns that these disorders can also impact suffers’ families (Chavez & Insel, 2007). The DSM-5 characterizes eating disorders as persistent disturbances in eating behavior resulting in (a) abnormalities in food consumption or absorption and (b) impairment of physical health or psychosocial functioning (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Recently researchers have extended their eating disorder investigations to explore effects of these disorders on families, finding that a child’s eating disorder can cause clinically significant distress in parents and lead to disruptions in family dynamics (Hillege, Beale, & McMaster, 2006; Keitel, Parisi, & Whitney, 2010; Leonidas & Santos, 2014). Forty percent of parents who have a child with an eating disorder experience distress (Whitney, Haigh, Weinman, & Treasure, 2007). Family fracturing, decreased coping ability, sibling distress, personal sacrifice, and social isolation contribute to families’ distress (Hillege, Beale, & McMaster, 2006; Keitel et al., 2010). Additionally, across the majority (58%) of studies reviewed, researchers found that feelings of conflict, loss, guilt, and sacrifice were characteristic of relationships within families whose child is
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