Some people can take a long time to recover from bulimia so it is important to know what factors make the disease last longer in some people than in others. Previous studies have found that co-occuring mental illnesses in bulimia sufferers can prolong people's bulimia and parental mental-health problems can also have an effect. A study of 94 women with bulimia in the U.S. looked at the mental-health problems and obesity of their parents to see how it affected the course of the women's illness. Substance abuse by fathers was the most common problem and this was associated with longer-lasting bulimia. Depression in mothers was also associated with a worse outcome in the long term as was mood disorder in the participants. However, obesity in mothers was associated with a better outcome at long-term follow-up.
Arikian, Aimee ... [et al] - Parental psychopathology as a predictor of long-term outcome in bulimia nervosa patients Eating Disorders January-February 2008, 16(1), 30-39