Previous research has suggested that invalidating childhood environments are positively related to the symptoms of eating disorders. However, it is unclear how childhood environments might impact upon the development of eating disorder symptoms. This study examined the relationship between parental invalidation and eating disorder-related attitudes in a nonclinical sample and tested the mediating effect of attitudes towards emotional expression. Two hundred women, with a mean age of 21 years, completed measures of invalidating childhood environments, attitudes towards emotional expression, and eating pathology. Eating concerns were positively associated with recollections of an invalidating parental environment. The belief that the expression of emotions is a sign of weakness fully mediated the relationship between childhood maternal invalidation and adult eating concern. Following replication and extension to a clinical sample, these results suggest that targeting the individual's attitude towards emotional expression might reduce eating attitudes among women who have experienced an invalidating childhood environment.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Haslam, M., Arcelus, J., Farrow, C., & Meyer, C. (2012). Attitudes towards emotional expression mediate the relationship between childhood invalidation and adult eating concern. European eating disorders review, 20(6), 510-514, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/erv.2198/abstract]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
- invalidating childhood environment
- emotional expression
- attitude towards