Research Shows How Strained Mum-and-Daughter Relationship May Trigger Binge Eating

By Helen Holmes on March 07, 2013

While past studies on binge eating have focused on its effects on individuals, a new research from Dalhousie University investigates the link between binge eating and interpersonal relationship.

Binge eating is one of the most common eating disorders that affect thousands of men and women. It is characterised by ‘uncontrolled eating’ and feelings of guilt thereafter. People who binge-eat consume large quantities of food in a very short period of time until they become ‘uncomfortably full’, and they do it even if they don’t feel hungry.  Vast studies have linked binge eating with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Strained Relationships and Over Eating

For their study, researchers studied how binge eating relates to the strained relationship between college students and their mums. Using standardised tests, all the daughters were assessed for socially prescribed perfectionism – or how they feel about others’ expectations, and their need to become ‘perfect individuals’. Meanwhile, their mums were assessed for psychological control – their sense of control over their children.

Researchers found that young women who feel they need to be perfect, and are exposed to pressures tend to develop feelings of sadness. And as a coping mechanism, they are more likely to indulge in binge eating. Participants who felt that their mums rigidly required them to be perfect and whose mums are very controlling and demanding, found a ‘perfect’ escape from their strained relationship on binge eating.

The study, which was published in the journal Eating Behaviours, can have clinical implications on the assessment and treatment of binge eating. Other than focusing on the personal aspects that underlie a person’s tendency to binge eat, doctors, counsellors and families can take into consideration the interpersonal relationship of the binge eaters in trying to understand their condition and help them recover.


Source of this article:

Testing the Perfectionism Model of Binge Eating in Mother-Daughter Dyads: A Mixed Longitudinal and Daily Diary Study

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