Author(s): Agras S, Hammer L, McNicholas F
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of eating disordered mothers on their children. METHOD: Women with a past or present eating disorder (ED; N = 41) and non-eating disordered women (NED); N = 153) and their offspring were followed prospectively. RESULTS: Female infants of ED mothers sucked significantly faster and were weaned 9 months later than offspring of NED mothers. ED mothers fed their children on a less regular schedule, used food for nonnutritive purposes, and demonstrated significantly higher concern about their daughters' weight than NED mothers from 2 years of age onward. At 5 years, the offspring of ED mothers were reported to demonstrate greater negative affect than the offspring of NED mothers. DISCUSSION: The female offspring of ED mothers demonstrate a high avidity for feeding early in life which, combined with increased maternal concern over their daughters weight and the use of food for nonnutritive purposes, may pose a serious risk for the later development of an eating disorder.
This article was published in Int J Eat Disord
and referenced in Abnormal and Behavioural Psychology