Parenting styles and eating disorder pathology Essay

849 Words 4 Pages
The study “Parenting styles and eating disorder pathology” was conducted by R.S. Enten and M. Golan and published in 2009. The purpose of their study was to find out whether there is a relationship between parenting styles and symptoms of eating disorders in their offspring.
The parenting styles they distinguished were permissive, authoritarian and authoritative, terms coined by Baumrind (1966). Parents with a permissive parenting style tend to have a laissez faire attitude, they do not set rules but give the child a lot of freedom and are responsive. In contrast to this, parents who have an authoritarian parenting style want their child to obey and are less responsive for the needs of the child. The authoritative parenting style is
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In specific, they found a significantly positive correlation between the patients’ scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory scores and “the patient’s perception of the father as having an authoritarian parenting style (p=0.308, p=0.042)” (Enten & Golan, 2009, p.786). Another finding was that the more the father was educated and the more time he spent at work, the less was the BMI of the child.
The relationship between EDI scores and perception of authoritarianism was not found for the mother. However, there was a negative relationship “between mothers’ self- perception as authoritarian and patient recovery” (Enten & Golan, 2009, p.786).
The results support the notion that the authoritative parenting style is the most adaptive. The results add to the existing body of knowledge insofar as they highlight the influence of the father’s role in the family.
In one later study, Lobera, Rios and Casals (2011) found that “patients who perceived a neglectful parenting showed higher scores in bulimia and body dissatisfaction” (p. 731). Enten and Golan did not take this parenting style into account. The term of neglectful parenting was added to the parenting styles by Baumrind by Maccoby and Martin in 1983 (as cited in Enten & Golan, 2009) and is characterized by both a lack of warmth and clear rules.

There are a few other weaknesses in the study which should be considered in future replications.

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