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Posttraumatic stress disorder in mothers of individuals with Anorexia Nervosa.
Advances in Eating Disorders: Theory, Research and Practice
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This pilot study aimed to investigate the prevalence of maternal posttraumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety and depressive symptoms and what aspects of having a child with anorexia nervosa (AN) are perceived as traumatic by the mothers. Thirty-one mothers of daughters with AN completed a range of self-report questionnaires and a structured clinical interview. Higher rates of anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms were found in mothers than in the general UK population. Mothers reported acute traumatic stressors during the course of AN, such as 'thinking their daughter was about to die or dead', 'seeing or consenting to their daughter being tube-fed'. We also found that mothers rated chronic aspects of their daughter's AN as very severely distressing, such as 'worrying about permanent damage to daughter's health'. Results suggest that maternal mental health should be kept in mind during assessments of individuals with eating disorders and referral for a service in their own right might be indicated.
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