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Article

Parental-Bonding and Alexithymia in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa, Their Parents, and Siblings

1
Interdepartmental Center for Family Research (CIRF), University of Padova, Via Venezia, 14-35131 Padova, PD, Italy
2
Section of Applied Psychology, Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education, and Applied Psychology, University of Padova, Via Venezia, 14-35131 Padova, PD, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dario Bacchini
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12050123
Received: 25 February 2022 / Revised: 8 April 2022 / Accepted: 15 April 2022 / Published: 24 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
Anorexia nervosa (AN) patients and their family-members share alexithymia, anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms, in the context of altered attachment. These domains have been individually studied in the context of eating disorders; few attempts have been made to study their interaction, especially including family members. In this study, alexithymia, parental-bonding, and psychopathology were assessed in 32 Italian families consisting of an adolescent AN patient, a sibling, and their parents. We aimed to (a) describe a sample of Italian families with a child affected by AN, notably including siblings; (b) investigate interactions between assessed constructs in patients and their siblings; and (c) investigate possible intergenerational effects. Results showed high alexithymia and psychopathological symptoms in patients but not in siblings, although the latter reported high obsession–compulsion and paranoid ideation scores. Patients’ and siblings’ alexithymia correlated with psychopathology. Parents reported generally low alexithymia. Perceived parental bonding was found to be suboptimal in most participants, yet no clear relationship was found between specific parenting styles and other measured traits, nor did we find any other relevant intergenerational effect. Anorexia nervosa implies psychological difficulties for all family members. Siblings’ psychopathological traits are especially concerning and currently understudied. Implications for future research and clinical interventions are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: anorexia nervosa; alexithymia; parental bonding; psychopathological symptoms; siblings anorexia nervosa; alexithymia; parental bonding; psychopathological symptoms; siblings
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mannarini, S.; Kleinbub, J.R. Parental-Bonding and Alexithymia in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa, Their Parents, and Siblings. Behav. Sci. 2022, 12, 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12050123

AMA Style

Mannarini S, Kleinbub JR. Parental-Bonding and Alexithymia in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa, Their Parents, and Siblings. Behavioral Sciences. 2022; 12(5):123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12050123

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mannarini, Stefania, and Johann Roland Kleinbub. 2022. "Parental-Bonding and Alexithymia in Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa, Their Parents, and Siblings" Behavioral Sciences 12, no. 5: 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12050123

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