University of Hertfordshire

View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e274-e281
Number of pages8
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Volume17
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Helplessness and mastery in childhood and in response to the events that trigger onset are implicated in the development of eating disorders. However, no studies have yet explored how these are linked and whether the effects are additive or mediated. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews (Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse; Life Events and Difficulties Schedule; Coping Strategies Interview) were used to assess helplessness and mastery in childhood and in response to a provoking agent in 15 eating disordered and 19 non-eating disordered women. RESULTS: Helplessness and mastery in childhood were related to helplessness and mastery in response to the events and difficulties that triggered onset of the eating disorder. However, only the presence of helplessness and the lack of mastery in response to this provoking agent predicted onset. CONCLUSION: Helplessness and mastery are vulnerability and protective factors but only in those women who develop an eating disorder in the context of later life events. It is suggested that helplessness and mastery in childhood act via their influence on the adequacy of coping in response to later life events. (Eat. Weight Disord. 17: e274-e281, 2012). ©2012, Editrice Kurtis

ID: 2622164