USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Evin Janik

First Advisor

Christina Salnaitis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Wendy Rote, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued



Almost 30 million individuals in the United States will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Of those 30 million, 10,200 individuals will die a year as a direct result of the eating disorder (Deloitte Access Economics, 2020). To discover a way to help those suffering, there has been research into a variety of treatment options. One of the most common treatments is Family-Based Therapy which often dives into the parent and diagnosed child’s relationship. In this form of treatment there is often little focus on the impact of the diagnosis on the sibling(s). In this study we will be analyzing adults who grew up with an adolescent sibling diagnosed with an eating disorder. These adolescents diagnosed with an eating disorder are known throughout this study as AEDs. These siblings are known throughout this study as “forgotten children”.

Our main goal of this research is to examine, qualify, and describe the experiences of siblings of adolescents diagnosed with an eating disorder. In doing so, this study will investigate whether the siblings of AEDs have been impacted, negatively or positively, into adulthood due to the disorder. It will also serve to quantify the impact of the diagnosis and resulting experiences using a variety of measurement metrics including depression, anxiety, coping skills, perseverance, resilience, personality traits, and drug usage. The researchers will investigate correlations between the measurement metrics to reveal relationships specific to siblings of AEDs. The results of this study will give researchers a better understanding of these siblings as well more insight on the familial element of the disorder. The results will also serve as a reflection of these siblings and allow their voices and experiences to be heard.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program University of South Florida, St. Petersburg April 27th, 2021.