Anyone can develop an eating disorder. How eating disorders evolve is still poorly understood. Risk factors, such as perfectionism, difficulty with emotion regulation, high achievement orientation and a history of dieting have been identified, but researchers are still working to understand why some individuals with such experiences and traits develop an eating disorder and some do not.
There are some things we do know. Individuals with eating disorders come from families of every constellation and level of conflict. Parents do not cause eating disorders. However, they are instrumental in supporting children and teenagers in recovering from these illnesses. Eating disorders are also not necessarily a result of trauma. Some individuals with eating disorders have a history of such experiences, but many do not.
Both genders, all socioeconomic classes, and all ethnic groups are susceptible to developing an eating disorder. In fact, research indicates that one fourth to one half of new cases of Anorexia in prepubertal children occur in males.