Date: August 2001
Creator: Evans, Gloria J.
Description: Research has described and many clinicians have reported the anorectic patient as socially disconnected, having a disembodied sense of self, perfectionist expectations, and inadequate and shameful feelings. The more intense the internal war, the more food-focused and self-defeating behavior ensues, thwarting one's ability to receive value, self-acceptance, and love. Addressing the anorexia phenomenon, this study considered, from a sociological perspective, the dynamics of attachment and shame. On the basis of 4 propositions and using a multi-method, case-replication design, attachment and shame patterns for 5 restrictive and 5 normal eaters were compared, as determined by scores from the Parental Bonding Instrument, Inventory of Parental and Peer Attachment, Internalized Shame Scale, and personal interviews. Analysis was progressive, as propositions were tested by pattern-matching steps of rating, comparing, and interpreting recurring responses to self-report and interview questions. All anorectics reported a dominant mother, with whom 4 were over attached and struggled ambivalently for autonomy, and a quiet, inexpressive father, whom 4 considered frequently absent or unavailable. As compared to normal eaters, anorectics' trust and communication scores were lower for both parents and peers. Generally, anorectics showed markedly higher internalized shame. Findings indicated that nonoptimal parental bonding patterns were related to shame. The maternal ...
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