The effects of parental representation on depression and the development of eating disorder symptoms in a sample of non-clinical adolescents

Chanchal Sharma, Pace University

Abstract

Research suggests that patterns of engagement and disengagement between the mother and her infant and child influence relational strengths and disturbances in adolescence and later life. This study investigated how adolescents perceive their parents and how their perceptions relate to Depression and symptoms of eating disorders. Participants were part of a longitudinal study of a school-based sample of adolescent development and depression at Pace University. Those included in this study completed the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale (CES-D), and the Inventory of Parental Representations (IPR). ^ Multiple regression analysis determined whether adolescents with more negative parental representations experienced more depression and symptoms of eating disorders and whether adolescents who perceive their parents more positively were less depressed and less vulnerable to eating disorders. It was hypothesized that among females there would be an increase in the relationship between negative parental perceptions, depression, and eating disorder symptomatology compared to males. It was further hypothesized that a regression analyses would show a significant increase in negative paternal versus maternal perceptions as eating disorder symptomatology increases. ^ It was found that females reported having significantly higher levels of concern regarding dieting and a profound preoccupation with weight compared to males. Compared to the males, adolescent females reported having significantly higher levels of dissatisfaction with their bodies, a higher sense of alienation and a general reluctance to form close relationships. It was also found that females reported significantly more higher depression symptomatology than males. A strong relationship between depression and eating disorder subscales was suggested. It was found females who perceive their mothers as hostile compared to males, are more depressed. Also, the more females perceived their mothers as being passive and inept, when compared to males, the more depressed they would feel. The more females perceived their fathers as being passive and inept, when compared to males, the more depressed they would feel. Hence, the more females perceived their mothers as being possessive, when compared to males, the more difficulty they had identifying emotions and sensations, such as hunger. ^ The relationship between IPR negative Maternal Disappointed and EDI Ineffectiveness was stronger for females versus males the more females perceived their mothers as being demanding/disappointing, when compared to males, the more they inadequate, insecure, and worthlessness they feel. This study found that there was a statistically significant gender effect for mothers and fathers who were perceived to need Protection and Repair and EDI Bulimia and interoceptive awareness subscale. ^ Unanticipated was the finding that there were no statistically significant gender effects on the IPR negative (five) paternal subscales and EDI (eight) subscales. Interventions and applications with regard to school and clinical psychology are discussed with regard to gender, adolescent perceptions of parents, and psychopathology. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Chanchal Sharma, "The effects of parental representation on depression and the development of eating disorder symptoms in a sample of non-clinical adolescents" (January 1, 2005). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3167000.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3167000

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