Anorexia nervosa, selflessness, and gender-role identity: A study of daughters and parents

Kyra Sarner-Levin, Laura Canetti*, Yael Latzer, Omer Bonne, Bernard Lerer, Eytan Bachar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: This study examines the relationship between anorexia nervosa (AN), selflessness, and gender-role identity in young Israeli women and explores their parents’ gender-role identity. Method: Forty-seven AN women and 50 non-clinical controls completed the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2), Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI), and Selflessness Scale. Twenty-four parents from the AN group, and 41 mothers and 38 fathers from the control group also completed the BSRI. Results: As predicted, masculine traits protected against the detrimental effects of selflessness on eating disorder symptoms. The AN participants obtained lower masculinity scores, their mothers also scoring lower on both the masculinity and femininity measures than the control-group. Conclusions drawn from the BSRI must be adopted with caution since gender-role characteristics may vary over time. Conclusions: The findings suggest the need to integrate the self-psychological approach, which emphasizes the anorexic’s tendency to ignore her own interests in favor of others’ needs, with feminist views that stress the role society plays in putting pressure on women to become alienated from themselves.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

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