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BACKGROUND: It is likely that disrupted early parent-child relationships, eating disorder related cognitions and negative self-beliefs are relevant to some women who are overweight/obese. AIMS: This study tested the hypotheses that disrupted parent-child relationships would be linked to higher body mass index (BMI) and that this relationship would then be mediated by cognition. METHOD: A group of women were recruited from the community and completed measures of eating disorder (ED) thoughts, negative self-beliefs, and parental bonding. Individual body mass indices (BMIs) were calculated. RESULTS: One hundred and eighteen women completed the study. There was a relationship between parental bonding and higher BMI. As hypothesized, the relationship between parental bonding (as measured by maternal care, and paternal overprotection) and BMI appeared to be mediated by a range of ED thoughts, and some negative self-beliefs. CONCLUSION: The cognitions measured here, both ED related cognitions and negative self-beliefs, may be a useful target when considering psychological treatment for women who are overweight or obese.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Cogn Psychother

Publication Date





123 - 127


Body Mass Index, cognition, overweight/obesity, parental bonding, schema, Adult, Aged, Body Mass Index, Cognition, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Culture, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Obesity, Object Attachment, Parent-Child Relations, Parents, Self Concept, Surveys and Questionnaires, Thinking