A number of psychological factors have been described in patients with eating disorders, including difficulties in self-esteem and self-regulation, along with a sense of ineffectiveness and helplessness. Eating disorders, in this view, represent the attempt of the patient to gain control in the arena of eating and weight. Girls who are conflicted about maturation and sexuality are felt to be particularly prone to the development of anorexia nervosa. There are limitations in determining the pre-morbid psychological factors that may predispose to the development of eating disorders, primary among which is that this information has generally been obtained retrospectively, after the eating disorder has developed. A community-based study found that nonspecific risk factors such as adverse childhood experiences, negative comments about weight and shape, parental depression, and a predisposition towards obesity increased the likelihood of developing BED (31).
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