A great number of publications in the international literature have revealed the possible part of biological factors in eating disorders and as well as characteristics of the patients’ personality that favour or contribute in the development of these disorders. The research in etiology, however, includesthe examination of family and socio-cultural factors. The aim of the present paper was to concentrate bibliographic data related to the family and socio-cultural factors that form the conditions under which anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa develop, excluding articles about binge-eating disorder. Articles from 1995 to 2005 were included through search in the files of the electronic database Medline (PubMed) on terms of inventory (MESH) for both disorders. About the role of the family environment, it was found that the factors studied more were family dysfunction, overprotectionand sexual or physical abuse. As for the socio-cultural factors it is not perfectly clear whether the western standards of life are linked to the development of these disorders or if there is simply a lack of culturally sensitive instruments to detect these disorders in their different possible forms in the non-western world. An important finding is that there are not enough researches to show clearly any negative part played by the mass media.

Key words: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, etiology, family, socio-cultural factors

E. Spanou, F. Morogiannis (page 41) - Full article (Greek)