Patients with eating disorders and their siblings

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Abstract

Little is known about body images of siblings of patients with eating disorders. In this study we investigated body images of patients with anorexia or bulimia nervosa and of the patients' brothers and sisters. A computer program was employed that allows modeling perceived and desired body images of patients and family members. Patients, siblings and male and female control subjects rated their body images. The selected images were compared with anthropometric data. All subjects also filled out a body image questionnaire. Data from 30 patients, 38 siblings, and 60 control subjects are presented. Siblings did not differ from healthy control subjects. Self-ideal discrepancy was different in patients with anorexia and their sisters. Body image was more negative in patients than in their sisters. Siblings of patients with eating disorders seem to be rather unimpaired in terms of body image disturbances.

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