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Epidemiological study of the influence of family and socioeconomic status in disorders of eating behaviour

Rodriguez Martin, A., Novalbos, Ruiz, J.P., Martinez Nieto, J.M., Escobar Jimenez, L., Castro de Haro, A.L.
European journal of clinical nutrition 2004 v.58 no.6 pp. 846-852
breast feeding, case-control studies, eating disorders, eating habits, hospitals, inventories, patients, questionnaires, social class, socioeconomic status, toxic substances, Spain
Objective: To analyse the differences in family functioning and socioeconomic status between subjects with disorders of eating behaviour and the healthy population, considering the possible relationship of these factors with the psychic characteristics of patients, with consumption of various substances, and with sexual practices. Design: Case-control study. Setting: 'Puerta del Mar' University Hospital (Andalusia, Spain). Subjects: Conducted on a sample of 120 patients with AN and BN, and 240 controls with an identical distribution by age and sex. Interventions: SCOFF, eating disorder inventory (EDI), Apgar family and socioeconomic questionnaires are utilised. Results: Patients with disorders of eating behaviour present greater family dysfunctioning than controls; among cases, this difference is greater in the acute forms, but there are no differences between recent situations or crises due to previous episodes. Family dysfunction is associated with higher scores of multiple subscales of the EDI, which is corroborated on analysing each of the Apgar parameters independently. Family functioning is not associated with other variables such as breast-feeding or consumption of toxic substances. Socioeconomic status does not differentiate cases from controls, or acute situations from evolving ones, or new episodes from other crisis episodes, although differences may be found in the psychic manifestations according to social class. Conclusions: It is confirmed that family functioning has an influence in these types of disorder, in their evolution and in the psychic characteristics of the patients, without any evidence being found of a relationship between these disorders and socioeconomic status.