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Family psychodynamic functioning and personality characteristics from de perspective of fathers, mothers and daughters

Grant number: 14/18615-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 01, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Psychological Treatment and Prevention
Acordo de Cooperação: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Manoel Antônio dos Santos
Grantee:Élide Dezoti Valdanha-Ornelas
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/02147-7 - Les troubles alimentaires des jeunes filles et la dynamique familiale, BE.EP.DR


Eating disorders (ED) have been gaining increasing visibility in national and international scientific setting fields, stating a health problems that have preoccupied professionals, parents and educators. Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are the most prevalent types of EDs. These psychopathologies present multifactorial etiology. Factors considered as symptom´s precipitators and maintainers are: socio-cultural environment, family relations, and personality aspects. Literature shows that the number of studies that seek to understand the role of the family in EDs are growing, once family group can affect the development and course of symptoms, whereas the family dynamics is also remarkably affected by the interaction with the affected member. From a psychoanalytic perspective, the ED can be understood as a dysfunctional response to latent family conflicts, a failed attempt to mask emotional pain that is not likely to be represented symbolically, nor can be elaborated or accepted by the family. It is noticed the confusion of roles in these families, in which family members cannot individualize, gain independence and achieve their identity. More specifically, the mother-daughter relationship is experienced ambivalently, intrusively and symbiotically. Studies available in scientific literature focus mainly on the pattern of mother-daughter relationship, with small number of researches dedicated to understand family psychodynamics. Accordingly, this study aims to investigate family psychodynamic functioning through psychological evaluation of personality characteristics of fathers, mothers and their daughters diagnosed with EDs in order to identify possible relationships with the origin and maintenance of the condition. It is a clinical-qualitative study, based on psychoanalytic theoretical framework. The sample will be divided into two groups (Clinical and Comparison - not clinical), resulting in 60 participants. Clinical Group will be composed of 10 adolescents and young adults diagnosed with ED (AN or BN), linked to a specialized service at a university hospital in the state of São Paulo, and their respective parents, resulting 30 participants (Clinical Group). The Comparison Group (non-clinical) will be composed of 10 adolescents and young adults without diagnosis of psychopathology or organic diseases, their fathers and mothers, resulting 30 participants. The instruments used for data collection are: (1) Brazilian Economic Classification Criterion; (2) Semi-structured Interview; (3) Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices; (4) Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Q-EDD); (5) Rorschach Test; (6) Family and History Draw Procedure. The instruments will be applied individually in three sessions with each participant. The collected material will be recorded and subsequently transcribed and analyzed according to the guidelines of each instrument. Data derived from fathers, mothers and daughters will be triangulated and organized according to each family unit and interpreted from the perspective of psychoanalytic theoretical framework. It is hoped that this study will provide knowledge for clinical practice with regard to the relationship between the experiences of family relationships, personality traits and the manifestation of ED´s symptoms, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying psychological aspects that may contribute to support the activities and interventions of professionals involved in healthcare, prevention, and health promotion. (AU)

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