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Childhood emotional abuse and eating symptoms in bulimic disorders: An examination of possible mediating variables

Authors

  • Patricia Groleau BA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    3. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute in Mental Health, 6605 LaSalle Blvd, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4H 1R3

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  • Howard Steiger PhD,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Psychology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    3. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    4. Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Kenneth Bruce PhD,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    3. Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Mimi Israel MD,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    3. Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Lindsay Sycz BA,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Anne-Sophie Ouellette BA,

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Ghislaine Badawi BSc

    1. Eating Disorders Program, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    2. Research Centre, Douglas University Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    3. Psychiatry Department, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Objective:

We sought to estimate prevalences of childhood emotional abuse (CEA) in bulimic and normal-eater control groups, and to replicate previous findings linking CEA to severity of eating symptoms in BN. We also examined potential mediators of the link between CEA and disordered eating.

Method:

Women diagnosed with a bulimic disorder (n = 176) and normal-eater women (n = 139) were assessed for childhood traumata, eating-disorder (ED) symptoms and psychopathological characteristics (ineffectiveness, perfectionism, depression, and affective instability) thought to be potential mediators of interest.

Results:

CEA was more prevalent in the bulimic than in the nonbulimic group, and predicted severity of some eating-symptom indices. Ineffectiveness and affective instability both mediated relationships between CEA and selected ED symptoms.

Discussion:

We found CEA to predict eating pathology through mediating effects of ineffectiveness and affective instability. CEA might influence severity of ED symptoms by impacting an individual's self-esteem and capacity for affect regulation. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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