Object images of eating disorder patients

A Nishizono-Maher, N Ikuta, Y Ogiso, N Moriya, Y Miyake, K Minakawa
Japanese Journal of Psychiatry and Neurology 1993, 47 (3): 555-62
The authors investigated images held by eating disorder patients toward selected stimulus words using the semantic differential method. The concept "object image" was introduced here to designate the images which any person has about the mother, the father, etc. A comparison was made between 22 eating disorder patients with concurrent borderline personality disorder, 20 patients without borderline pathology, and 48 controls. The eating disorder patients were found to have a "weaker" image of "motherliness" and "womanliness" compared to the control group. Another characteristic of eating disorder patients was their unfavorable image of children. The authors also studied the images held by fathers and mothers. In the families with borderline patients, the discrepancies between what we term "object images" held by fathers, mothers, and daughters were conspicuous. The importance of a tripartite (daughter-mother-father) relationship in the psychopathology of eating disorder is discussed.

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