Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 78–86 | Cite as

Experiences, Burdens, and Support Needs in Siblings of Girls and Women with Anorexia Nervosa: Results from a Qualitative Interview Study

Original Paper


For many years, siblings of women and girls suffering from anorexia have been regarded as “the forgotten kin,” as they have been overlooked by both researchers and clinicians. Therefore, the goal of this explorative study was to investigate siblings’ experiences, burdens, and support needs in a differentiated manner. Siblings (n = 16) of patients with an ICD-10 diagnosis “anorexia nervosa” (F 50.0) took part in a qualitative, in-depth interview study; the data were assessed using content analysis. The results of this study should be especially interesting for clinical social work. Using the findings, a variety of concrete recommendations for psycho-social practice can be made, for example regarding the inclusion of siblings in treatment settings, as well as specific support concepts for siblings of anorexic women and girls in different age groups.


Anorexia nervosa Siblings Burden Support needs Qualitative research 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The authors declare that they agree with the ethical standards of the Clinical Social Work Journal, as described in the in the Instructions for Authors. The paper has not been published previously; it has not been submitted to any other journal for simultaneous consideration. Ethical standards regarding the interviewing of study participants were strictly considered. The study participants were informed extensively about the topic, the goals and the implementation of the interview. They were advised that their participation was voluntary, that they could interrupt the interview at any time, and that their personal information would remain confidential (informed consent). Minors’ parents were also asked for their informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Jungbauer
    • 1
  • Jessica Heibach
    • 1
  • Karl Urban
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Health Research and Social Psychiatry, KatHO NRW AachenCatholic University of Applied SciencesAachenGermany

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