Academic journal article Journal of Eating Disorders

Patterns of Attachment and Reflective Functioning in Families of Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Academic journal article Journal of Eating Disorders

Patterns of Attachment and Reflective Functioning in Families of Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Article excerpt

Author(s): Elizabeth Seah[sup.1], Lois Liley[sup.1], Lynne Priddis[sup.2], David Forbes[sup.3] and Jan Piek[sup.2]

Eating disorders are serious, chronic disorders that are associated with significant physical, psychological and social costs. Many studies have demonstrated a connection between insecure patterns of attachment and eating disorders. In the last decade the theory of mentalization has emerged from the developmental and attachment theory literature in relation to mental health conditions. Mentalizing refers to a person's capacity to understand the thoughts, feelings, needs, intentions and desires that underlie the behaviour of self and others. The construct of mentalizing can be measured by a person's capacity for 'Reflective Functioning' (RF). Poor mentalizing capacity is seen to limit a person's ability to relate with others, maintain a sense of self and regulate difficult emotions. Deficits in mentalizing capacity have been linked to the psychopathology, including eating disorders. …

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