Parental disorders, childhood abuse, and binge eating in a large community sample


  • The NCS-R is now a public-use data set. None of the authors have commercial or industry support or a conflict of interest.

  • Supported by NIMH; U01-MH60220 from National Institute of Mental Health.



Genetic and nonshared environmental factors are implicated in the etiology of binge eating behaviors (BEB), with genetic risk expressed as parental psychopathology. Traumatic experiences including child abuse predict onset of BEB. It is not clear if each separately contribute to BEB, or whether parental pathology leads to abuse which in turn influences BEB.


Data were obtained from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (N = 2960). Through structural equation modeling, we estimated unique and combined effects of mother's and father's internalizing (INT) and externalizing (EXT) disorders, and child abuse on BEB.


Parental INT and EXT psychopathology contributed to child abuse and BEB. Abuse predicted BEB and partially mediated associations between parental psychopathology and BEB.


Results emphasize the value of models that incorporate nature and nurture to understand risk for psychopathology in offspring, with childhood abuse being one mediator of how parental psychopathology may reflect genetic risk and influence environmental risk. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012;)