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FACT: Parents Do Not Cause Eating Disorders

Parents DO NOT Cause Eating Disorders

This statement may seem obvious, but it is the sad history of eating disorder treatment that parents have often been blamed or felt blamed when a loved one develops an eating disorder. This crippling and discredited thinking was also once the case for other illnesses that we now understand are neither given nor chosen: asthma, stuttering, autism, schizophrenia. For those families suffering from guilt, from feeling blamed, or unsure of who to believe on this topic, here are some resources to review.


FACT: Genetic factors play a significant role in the development of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

FACT: Blame is a barrier to early and effective treatment

FACT: Families are essential to the recovery process



Position Statement: "Parents Do Not Cause Eating Disorders," signed by eating disorder experts and advocates from around the world.


VIDEO: ED experts answer the question, "Do parents cause eating disorders?"

Below: a three minute video of eating disorder experts, and the head of the US National Institute of Mental Health, answering the question "Do Parents Cause Eating Disorders?" posed by F.E.A.S.T.'s Founder, Laura Collins.

 Direct URL:


Some Helpful Resources for Families:

The Off the CUFF book published by Duke University's Eating Disorder Program


The New Maudsley Approach website for carers, by Janet Treasure, Gill Todd, and Pam Macdonald


The Toolkit for Carers: The Carer's Role in Eating Disorders by Janet Treasure offers a view of caregiving styles and how to best support a loved one.


What is patient- and family-centered care? FAQ from the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care


PsychCentral Eating Attitudes Screening



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F.E.A.S.T. (FAMILIES EMPOWERED AND SUPPORTING TREATMENT OF EATING DISORDERS) | US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +44 3308280031

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Information on this site is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation. Unless otherwise noted, content is edited by F.E.A.S.T. volunteers with assistance from our Professional Advisory Panel.

  F.E.A.S.T. | P.O. Box 1281| Warrenton, VA 20188 USA