Exploring the Association Between Partner Behaviors and Eating Disorder Symptomology


eating disorders, couples, symptomology, event history calendar


Introduction: Research suggests an association between partner support and eating disorder (ED) symptomology in coupled women. However, no research describes whether time is a factor when examining routine partner behaviors that contribute to ED symptom severity. This study examined the relationship between supportive and unsupportive partner behaviors and ED symptom severity over a 3-month time period. Method: Fifty-eight women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) identified helpful and unhelpful partner behaviors and ranked relationship support and symptom severity for the past 3 months using an event history calendar. Regression analyses examined the relationship between symptom distress and partner-support variables over 3 months. Results: Higher levels of helpfulness and relationship quality positively predicted partner-support levels. Partner distancing was predictive of increases in symptom distress. Discussion: Emotional or physical distancing or neglect aggravates symptom severity, which highlights the importance of addressing couple relationships in treatment and research

Original Publication Citation

Zak-Hunter, L. & Johnson, L. N. (2015). Exploring the association between partner behaviors and eating disorder symptomology. Families, Systems, & Health, 33, 405-409. (DOI) 10.1037/fsh0000147

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Family, Systems, and Health




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor