Depressive tendencies and lower levels of self-sacrifice in mothers, and selflessness in their anorexic daughters

Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
European Eating Disorders Review (Impact Factor: 1.38). 06/2008; 16(3):184-90. DOI: 10.1002/erv.840
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT (1) To compare levels of selflessness (the tendency to ignore one's own needs and serve others') and asceticism of parents and daughters, in anorexic and control families. (2) To investigate the relationship between parents' depression and daughters' selflessness. Twenty-eight anorexic daughters and their 28 mothers and 23 fathers were compared to 29 control daughters and their 29 mothers and 28 fathers, participants were administered the Beck Depression Inventory, the Selflessness Scale, the asceticism scale of the Eating Disorder Inventory and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Anorexics' mothers showed significantly lower levels of selflessness and asceticism compared to control mothers; anorexic daughters showed significantly higher levels of selflessness and asceticism compared to control daughters. Depressive tendencies in anorexics' mothers were associated positively and significantly with their daughters' selflessness. The results support the clinical literature that depicts the anorexic daughters' readiness to sacrifice themselves for the family's needs. Clinical implications are drawn.

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