The influence of siblings on the experience of anorexia nervosa for adolescent girls

Anne HONEY, Simon CLARKE, Christine Margaret HALSE, Michael KOHN, Sloane MADDEN

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This qualitative study explored the perspectives of adolescent girls diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and parents about the influence of siblings on sufferers' experiences of anorexia. In-depth interviews were conducted with 24 girls and 24 parents and analysed using constant comparative methods. Findings indicated that siblings can have both a positive and negative influence on girls through their presence in the family, responses to the illness, and impact on parents. A number of contributing factors affected the influence of siblings including: the sibling's understanding of anorexia; lifestyles; pre-anorexia relationships; whether parents and girls encouraged or discouraged a sibling's involvement with the anorexia; sibling and family characteristics; and professional interventions. The findings are presented as a conceptual framework that illustrates the relationships between these different dimensions. The findings underline the significance of sibling influence and the clinical value of further research into relationships between siblings and other family members in cases of anorexia nervosa. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-322
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


Anorexia Nervosa
Nuclear Family
Life Style


Honey, A., Clarke, S., Halse, C., Kohn, M., & Madden, S. (2006). The influence of siblings on the experience of anorexia nervosa for adolescent girls. European Eating Disorders Review, 14(5), 315-322.


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Patient/parent perspectives
  • Qualitative research
  • Siblings