Parental disorders, childhood abuse, and binge eating in a large community sample

Natalie Sachs-Ericsson, Pamela K. Keel, Lauren Holland, Edward A. Selby, Edelyn Verona, Jesse R. Cougle, Emily Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Genetic and nonshared environmental factors are implicated in the etiology of binge eating behaviors (BEB), with genetic risk expressed as parental psychopathology. Traumatic experiences including child abuse predict onset of BEB. It is not clear if each separately contribute to BEB, or whether parental pathology leads to abuse which in turn influences BEB. Method: Data were obtained from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (N = 2960). Through structural equation modeling, we estimated unique and combined effects of mother's and father's internalizing (INT) and externalizing (EXT) disorders, and child abuse on BEB. Results: Parental INT and EXT psychopathology contributed to child abuse and BEB. Abuse predicted BEB and partially mediated associations between parental psychopathology and BEB. Discussion: Results emphasize the value of models that incorporate nature and nurture to understand risk for psychopathology in offspring, with childhood abuse being one mediator of how parental psychopathology may reflect genetic risk and influence environmental risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-325
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • binge eating behaviour
  • child abuse
  • epidemiological

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