Research and Psychosocial Intervention With Families of Children and Adolescents With Eating Disorders and Obesity


  • Maria Alexina Ribeiro
  • Ilckmans Bergma Tonha Moreira Mugarte
  • Heron Flores Nogueira
  • Aldenira Barbosa Cavalcante
  • Vladimir de Araújo Albuquerque Melo
  • Ana Cristina Garcia Duarte Vasconcelos
  • Marcelo Porto Dias
  • Cícero Nunes Menezes


Eating disorders and obesity in children and adolescents have been calling researchers and public health institutions’ attention due to severity and increasing incidence in the last decades. Studies on etiological factors of diseases related to alimentation are important to justify more efficient treatment methodologies. The family participation has been suggested by authors of systems theory, motivating us to study this issue from the point of view of individual, family and socio-cultural. This paper aims to present research data to construct a psychosocial attendance methodology to children and adolescents with eating disorders and obesity and their families. The method used is qualitative and includes a family life cycle interview, Multifamily Group, children and adolescents groups and the use of Rorschach test in adolescents. Partial data show that parents’ life history has influence on eating pattern of family; the genitors don’t comprehend the obesity as a multi-factorial syndrome and don’t recognize that their children are obese and have difficulty setting boundaries in general and regarding to food; conjugal and parental conflicts and grandparents interference have negative influence on children dietary and on treatment of obesity and eating disorders; the use of Rorschach test has identified: low self-esteem, anguish and distorted self and body perceptions, self-concept and self-image distortions in adolescents with eating disorders and depressive thoughts, dependency, fear of abandonment and distortion between ideal and real images in obese adolescents. These data are in accordance with bibliographic review regarding to family influence on each member’s health development and on family eating pattern. Parents and adults have a central role as in orientation and education as presenting appropriate models in terms of alimentation.