It’s important to remember that none of these factors mean that a young person WILL develop an eating disorder – they’re simply risk factors and a young person who has a combination of the different factors that we’re going to discuss may be more likely to develop an eating disorder than their peers, so it’s worth being aware of them.
This post looks at Family factors – how a young person’s home environment or their relationships with their parents or carers might have an impact on their likelihood of developing an eating disorder. You might also be interested in reading the posts about Personality Factors and Social Factors.
A home environment where food, eating, weight or appearance have a disproportionate significance
Some families place a huge significance on food, eating, weight and appearance. This isn’t necessarily encouraged of the children in the family but having a mother or father who spends a lot of time worrying about their weight, exercising or dieting to influence their shape can rub off on children. Other families specifically encourage their children to eat less or lose weight or exercise to stay fit or lose weight.
An over-protective or over-controlling home environment
A very strict home environment where young people are expected to do as they’re told and adhere to strict rules can be a trigger factor for eating disorders as young people try to find a part of their life that they themselves are completely in control of.
Poor parental relationships and arguments
Food can be a refuge from many different types of problems. One such problem is difficult relationships at home.
Neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse
Another problem that may see young people seeking refuge in an unhealthy relationship with food is abuse. It is quite common for sufferers of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms such as eating disorders, self-harm or reliance on drugs or alcohol.
Overly high family expectations of achievement
We talked before about how individuals having high expectations of themselves could be a contributing factor in the development of an eating disorder, and the same is true of a family environment where relentlessly high standards are sought particularly if these aims are beyond what a young person is comfortably capable of. Young people who fail to meet the exacting standards of their families make seek refuge in food. And more generally, this type of family environment can sometimes give rise to the perfectionist personality type which is much more likely to develop eating disorders, and specifically anorexia.
If you would like further support, Pooky can deliver an eating disorder training session at your school or college.
You may also be interested in other free eating disorder resources I have uploaded: [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”3″] [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”4″]