Family interactions predict intraindividual symptom variation for adolescents with bulimia




Following family systems and stress theories, this study considered predictors of symptom variation experienced by adolescents with bulimia.


Using experience sampling methodology, 20 girls clinically diagnosed with bulimia nervosa completed questionnaires about hassles and bulimic symptoms for 1 week, eight times daily, whenever they were contacted by pager. Perceived family environment was defined by the Family Environment Scale and the Conflict Behavior Questionnaire.


Regression analyses found that potent family hassles were positive predictors of bulimic symptoms later that day for girls who perceived their family as having high levels of conflict or low levels of emotional expressiveness. This was not found when girls perceived their family environment as more normal.


Within the context of a perceived dysfunctional family environment, potent family hassles can predict interindividual and intraindividual bulimic symptom variation for adolescent girls. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 34: 450–457, 2003.