Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental disorder with a multifactorial etiopathogenesis, adolescent girls being especially vulnerable. Parents can be a resource and occasionally a burden when their children suffer from AN; thus, parents play a key role in recovery. This study focused on parental illness theories of AN and how parents negotiate their responsibilities. Methods: To gain insights into this dynamic, 14 parents (11 mothers, 3 fathers) of adolescent girls were interviewed. Qualitative content analysis was used to provide an overview of the parents' assumed causes for their children's AN. We also looked for systematic differences in the assumed causes among different groups of parents (e.g., high versus low self-efficacy). A microgenetic positioning analysis of two mother-father dyads provided further insight into how they viewed the development of AN in their daughters. Results: The analysis stressed the overall helplessness of parents and their strong need to understand what was going on. Parents differed in stressing internal and external causes, which influenced whether they felt responsible and how much they felt in control and able to help. Conclusions: Analysing the variability and dynamics shown can support therapists, especially those working systemically to change the narratives within families for better therapy compliance and outcomes.

Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescence: Parental Narratives Explore Causes and Responsibilities

Carpinelli, Luna
;
Watzlawik, Meike
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental disorder with a multifactorial etiopathogenesis, adolescent girls being especially vulnerable. Parents can be a resource and occasionally a burden when their children suffer from AN; thus, parents play a key role in recovery. This study focused on parental illness theories of AN and how parents negotiate their responsibilities. Methods: To gain insights into this dynamic, 14 parents (11 mothers, 3 fathers) of adolescent girls were interviewed. Qualitative content analysis was used to provide an overview of the parents' assumed causes for their children's AN. We also looked for systematic differences in the assumed causes among different groups of parents (e.g., high versus low self-efficacy). A microgenetic positioning analysis of two mother-father dyads provided further insight into how they viewed the development of AN in their daughters. Results: The analysis stressed the overall helplessness of parents and their strong need to understand what was going on. Parents differed in stressing internal and external causes, which influenced whether they felt responsible and how much they felt in control and able to help. Conclusions: Analysing the variability and dynamics shown can support therapists, especially those working systemically to change the narratives within families for better therapy compliance and outcomes.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4867065
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