Dyadic adjustment among mothers of children with anorexia

Marissa Miller Alexander, Fordham University


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a potentially fatal eating disorder that affects approximately 11 million men and women in the United States alone. As the onset of AN typically occurs during adolescence, parents often serve as caregivers to children and adolescents with the disorder, and have reported significant emotional, social, and professional impact on their lives as a result. Despite these findings, little research has been conducted to understand the experience of caring for a child with AN, and the effect the illness has on marital and family functioning. The current study employed path analysis to examine a model of dyadic adjustment among mothers of children with AN. Participants included 132 mothers who responded to an online questionnaire. Results validated the proposed model, after revisions were made using AMOS software. Findings from this study indicated that the severity of the child's illness, dyadic coping, perceived impact, and emotional distress significantly predicted dyadic adjustment. In particular, the perceptions of the impact on the family and the severity of the illness were positively correlated with emotional distress, and dyadic coping was positively correlated with dyadic adjustment. The results from this study should be interpreted with caution, due to the homogeneity of the sample with respect to race and socioeconomic status. Results from this study emphasize the importance of treatment interventions focused on perceived impact and dyadic coping to alleviate familial disturbance.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Alexander, Marissa Miller, "Dyadic adjustment among mothers of children with anorexia" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3591127.