Aims – The relationship between eating disorders, attachment, personality traits and eating psychopathology remains unexplored. This study tested the mediating role of temperament and character between parental bonding and psy-chopathology in bulimic women. Methods – 154 bulimic subjects and 154 healthy controls were compared using Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Multiple regression analysis tested the mediation of personality traits between parenting and eating psy-chopathology. Results – Bulimic subjects displayed low maternal and paternal care and low self-directedness, and high novelty seeking and eating psychopathology. Maternal care was negatively related to social insecurity, inadequacy and impulsiveness. Paternal care predicted novelty seeking, self-directedness, interoceptive awareness, impulsiveness, and asceticism. The mediation effect of self-directedness between paternal care and psychopathology was significant, not the one of novelty seeking. Conclusions – Parental care is lower in bulimic than in control women even when controlled for possible confounding variables. Some eating psychopathology traits are related to maternal and paternal care, but not the bulimia subscale. Paternal care is also related to temperament and character traits which are related to eating psychopathology. Self-directedness mediates with different degrees between parenting and eating psychopathology. Clinical implications are discussed.
Declaration of Interest: The first author received financing from Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation for the research on eating disorders (3989 IT/FA 2005.1797). The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) awarded a Charron Family Grant to the second author to sustain research about the families of subjects affected by eating disorders. The third author received a grant from “Regione Piemonte” for research on Eating Disorders for the years 2008 and 2009. The authors have not received any other financing for the present research, including pharmaceutical company support or any honoraria for consultancies for interventions during the last two years. The authors are not involved in any conflict of interest in connection to the submitted article.