Bulimic family dynamics: Role of parents' personality - A controlled study with the temperament and character inventory

S. Fassino, F. Amianto, G. Abbate Daga, P. Leombruni, L. Garzaro, M. Levi, G. G. Rovera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The numbers of studies on the familial environment and personality of bulimic women have increased in recent years and results have revealed interesting features. In this study, we evaluated the temperament and character traits of patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) and their mothers and fathers, and we analyzed the correlation of temperament and character traits among members of these bulimic families. Finally, we tested the ability of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) to discriminate between normal controls and bulimic subjects, their parents, and their families. Using the TCI, temperament and character features of 28 bulimic patients and their parents (23 fathers and 28 mothers) were analyzed and then compared with a control group of 29 women and their 27 fathers and 29 mothers. Data suggest that both temperament and character factors are involved in BN. Bulimic individuals were high in harm avoidance and low in self-directedness. Their mothers were distinguished by low self-directedness. The fathers were low in persistence. Harm avoidance of bulimic women positively correlated with harm avoidance and negatively with self-directedness of their mothers. The bulimic family had low self-directedness as a common denominator observed in all family members. The observation that both temperament and character have important roles in the etiopathogenesis of bulimia nervosa has important treatment ramifications. The TCI was useful in discriminating between normal controls and bulimic subjects, their parents, and the whole family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)

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    Fassino, S., Amianto, F., Abbate Daga, G., Leombruni, P., Garzaro, L., Levi, M., & Rovera, G. G. (2003). Bulimic family dynamics: Role of parents' personality - A controlled study with the temperament and character inventory. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 44(1), 70-77. https://doi.org/10.1053/comp.2003.50007