Effects of Family Dynamics on Disordered Eating Patterns and Behaviors: Evidence from Cyprus

Marilena Mousoulidou, Marios Argyrides, Maria Ioannou

Abstract


The current study aimed a) to examine family dynamics in Cyprus and possible influences on disordered eating patterns and behaviors, b) to assess the relationships between the quality of family dynamics and unhealthy eating practices, and c) to reinvestigate the already established relationship between dieting and problematic eating patterns and behaviors. The sample consisted of 109 females between 18 and 30 years old. The majority of the female participants reported that their families are cohesive and flexible, have low levels of disengagement, enmeshment, rigidity and chaos and high levels of communication with most aspects of their families. However, family satisfaction did not provide clear results. Furthermore, results also indicated a positive relationship between rigidity in families and the measures of eating disturbances. Additionally, and as expected, the results were consistent with the well-known assertion that dieting contributes to the development of disordered eating patterns and behaviors. The current findings offer important additional information to the disordered eating literature of females in Cyprus by providing information of how family dynamics can influence the development of problematic eating patterns and behaviors. The current study supports the need for the implementation of preventive and intervention plans to Cypriot young females and their families which promote healthy eating behaviors.

Keywords


family dynamics; quality of family relationships; disordered eating; rigidity; Cyprus