When explaining eating disorders researchers use a multidimensional risk perspective to explain eating disorders. They identify several key factors that place individuals at risk for these disorders. There is a greater likelihood that a person will develop an eating disorder when these factors are present like psychological problems, biological factors, and sociocultural conditions. Effective parents accurately attend to their children's biological and emotional needs, giving them food when they are crying from hunger and comfort when they are crying out of fear. Ineffective parents fail to attend to their children needs deciding that their children are hungry, cold, or tired without correctly interpreting the children's actual condition. Children who receive such parenting may grow up confused and unaware of their own internal needs, not knowing for themselves when they are hungry or full and unable to identify their own emotions. .
Many people with eating disorders experience symptoms of depression. Some believe that mood disorders set the stage for eating disorders. This can be supported by the claims that close relatives of people with eating disorder seem to have a higher rate of mood disorders than close relatives of people with out such disorders. Second, many people with eating disorders, especially in bulimia nervosa, have low activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The last claim that can be made is that people with an eating disorder are often helped by some of the same antidepressants drugs that reduce depression. .
Biological factors can also contribute to eating disorders. Biological theorist believe that relatives of people with eating disorders are six times as likely to develop the disorder themselves, especially in twins. One possible way to explain an eating disorder from a biological standpoint is by looking at the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus regulates many bodily functions and has two separate areas.