It can be hypothesised that invalidating environments in childhood influence the negative core beliefs that are found in the eating disorders. This study of eating-disordered women aimed to test the relationships between perceived childhood invalidating environments and negative core beliefs. Forty-one eating-disordered females completed the measures of childhood invalidating experiences and core beliefs. Such core beliefs were most closely related to the individuals’ perceptions of having grown up in a ‘chaotic’ family environment. Future clinical practice should continue to target core beliefs in formulating cases of eating disorders. Explaining those core beliefs may depend on understanding the individual’s experiences of invalidation in early years. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.