Risk factors

The following characteristics or life events seem to increase the likelihood of one developing an eating disorder. They don’t necessarily cause the eating disorder, but they are related to the illness.

  • a powerful need for control
  • perfectionism
  • a strong desire to be liked by others
  • being a “people pleaser”
  • an inability to express feelings
  • family conflict
  • having a family member with an eating disorder
  • excessive competitiveness
  • abuse (current or past)
  • trauma (current or past)
  • major life changes
  • struggles with identity