Struggling with eating disorders can relate to many aspects of an individual’s life, but could it be related to attachment styles? International Journal of Eating Disorders We survey existing literature that suggests that people with eating disorders tend to have highly insecure attachment styles.
Eating disorders are particularly debilitating mental illnesses, associated with high levels of medical disability and mortality. Attachment styles have received a lot of attention with respect to eating disorders, and it has been theorized that early caregiver interactions may contribute to the development of eating disorders.
Anxious and avoidant attachment styles are two patterns of erratic behavior and emotional reactions that individuals can develop in intimate relationships. These styles reflect the different strategies people employ to overcome emotional intimacy and seek security in relationships.
Worriers constantly seek approval and fear rejection or abandonment. They are overly dependent and can have intense emotional reactions. Avoidant people prioritize independence, fear intimacy, and can appear emotionally distant or unapproachable. They value personal space and struggle with trust.
Attachment is also considered an important consideration in treatment, as family and friends may play an important role in recovery. A new study aimed to better understand the relationship between attachment and eating disorders by conducting a state-of-the-art meta-analysis and including potential regulators.
In a meta-analysis, researchers collect data from different studies, analyze them together, and draw conclusions based on the combined results. This method allows for larger sample sizes, improved statistical power, and the ability to detect patterns and trends that may not be apparent in individual studies.
Tom Jewell and colleagues searched for relevant studies in several non-dated databases, including Google Scholar and PsycINFO. The investigators screened the studies, and inclusion criteria included the presence or absence of a healthy control group, the use of clinician-determined or validated measures of eating disorders, and the basis of attachment theory.
Studies using infantile anorexia were excluded due to their absence in the DSM or ICD, and studies using parental bonding measures were also excluded due to lack of basis for attachment theory. Publication bias was assessed and estimates were adjusted accordingly.
Jewell et al. reported attachment safety assessed by interviews and assessed by self-report, attachment avoidance assessed by self-report in an eating disorder sample, anorexia nervosa sample and bulimia nervosa sample, self Eight meta-analyses including attachment anxiety assessed by self-assessment were performed. Eating disorder samples, anorexia nervosa samples, bulimia nervosa samples, etc.
Across all eight meta-analyses, we found higher rates of attachment anxiety in the eating disorder sample. All of these relationships showed moderate to large effect sizes. This study found no significant mitigating effects of age, sampling, or control group matching.
The lack of a significant moderating effect of age may imply that the relationship between attachment anxiety and eating disorders may not change significantly with developmental stage.
One of the key moderators found in this meta-analysis was the blinding of study raters using interviews. The researchers expected to see larger effect sizes in the unblinded studies, but many studies actually found smaller effect sizes. He had only one study using a group of people who had recovered from an eating disorder, and that study found no significant difference from a control group.
This study takes an important step towards a better understanding of the body of literature linking attachment anxiety and eating disorders. Nevertheless, there are notable limitations, and the meta-analysis is bound by many of the limitations of the original study. A significant limitation of this study is that it does not consider autism spectrum disorders, despite the prevalence of ASD in the eating disorder population.
Nevertheless, this finding has some important clinical implications.
“Understanding insecure attachment patterns in the therapeutic context may help clinicians identify or predict therapeutic ruptures and proactively seek to repair ruptures,” said the researchers. wrote. “Furthermore, attachment may be of therapeutic value. , may play a beneficial role and is consistent with evidence-based models such as focused psychodynamic therapy.”
the study, “Attachment in Patients with Eating Disorders Compared to Community Controls: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis‘ by Tom Jewell, Eleni Apostolidou, Kevser Sadikovic, Kirsty Tahta-Wraith, Sarah Liston, Mima Simic, Ivan Iceler, Peter Fonagy, and Isabel Yorke.