Eating disorders and personality: A methodological and empirical review. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 299-320

Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30302-5010, USA.
Clinical Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 06/2006; 26(3):299-320. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2005.10.003
Source: PubMed


Methodological approaches utilized to evaluate models of the relationship between personality and eating disorders, as well as empirical support for each model, are reviewed. Limited prospective research suggests that negative emotionality, perfectionism, drive for thinness, poor interoceptive awareness, ineffectiveness, and obsessive-compulsive personality traits are likely predisposing factors. Limited family study research suggests that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and anorexia nervosa share a common familial liability. Potential pathoplastic personality factors include Cluster B personality disorders and OCPD, which predict a poorer course and/or outcome, and histrionic personality traits and self-directedness, which predict a more favorable course and/or outcome. Future research should focus upon sophisticated prospective and family study research in order to best evaluate competing models of the eating disorder-personality relationship.


Available from: Lisa R R Lilenfeld, Jan 05, 2015
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    • "Further support for our results is provided by another study (Bégin et al., 2012), that examined personality differences between overweight/obese women with and without FA and found that women with FA were more similar to women with substance use disorder than women without FA, particularly in regard to impulsivity and self- directedness. Research has shown that harm avoidance is common to all ED subtypes and significantly higher in patients compared to controls (Cassin and Von Ranson, 2005; Lilenfeld et al., 2006; Atiye et al., 2015). In our study, both ED groups had values beyond the norms of general population (see SupplementaryFigure S1), but no significant association was found between this temperament factor and a higher rate of FA. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate if eating disorder patients differ in specific personality traits depending on a positive screening of food addiction (FA) and to find a model to predict FA in eating disorder patients using measures of personality and impulsivity. Methods: Two hundred seventy eight patients, having an eating disorder, self-reported on FA, impulsivity, personality, eating and general psychopathology. Patients were then split into two groups, depending on a positive or negative result on the FA screening. Analysis of variance was used to compare means between the two groups. Stepwise binary logistic regression was used to obtain a predictive model for the presence of FA. Results: Patients with FA had lower self-directedness, and more negative urgency and lack of perseverance than patients not reporting addictive eating. The probability of FA can be predicted by high negative urgency, high reward dependence, and low lack of premeditation. Conclusion: Eating disorder patients who have more problems to pursue tasks to the end and to focus on long-term goals seem to be more likely to develop addictive eating patterns.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    • "First, no causal inferences can be made since the NCS-A is a cross-sectional study. Personality, however, generally develops before binge eating behavior, and several longitudinal studies on eating disorders suggest maladaptive personality traits as likely risk factors for developing an eating disorder (Bulik et al., 2006; Cervera et al., 2003; Lilenfeld, 2011; Lilenfeld et al., 2006 ). Future longitudinal studies assessing both genetic and environment variables associated with the development of personality and their effects on the frequency and/or the severity of binge eating may be useful. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Binge eating behavior is a public health concern with serious physical and mental health consequences. Certain personality traits have been found to contribute to the development of eating disorders in clinical samples of youth, but little is known about associations between personality traits and binge eating in the general adolescent population. We examined the associations of neuroticism and impulsivity - both independently and in combination - with lifetime prevalence of binge eating, using nationally representative, cross-sectional data from the National Comorbidity Survey: Adolescent Supplement (n = 437). Neuroticism and impulsivity were each significantly associated with lifetime prevalence of binge eating (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] = 1.11, confidence interval [CI] = 1.07, 1.15, p < 0.001; aPR = 1.06, CI = 1.04, 1.09, p < 0.001, respectively). The combination of high neuroticism and high impulsivity was associated with higher lifetime binge eating than the combination of low neuroticism and low impulsivity (aPR = 3.72, CI = 2.45, 5.65, p < 0.001), and this association was stronger for female than male adolescents (females: aPR = 5.37, CI = 3.24, 8.91, p < 0.001 vs. males: aPR = 2.45, CI = 1.43, 4.22, p = 0.002). Our findings have implications for informing theories of etiology and interventions to target binge eating behaviors.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Personality and Individual Differences
    • "A study by Stein and Corte (2007) found that both patients with AN and BN had an impaired self-identity and a negative self-schema compared to controls. Moreover, women with ED were found to be less capable of describing their internal states and their emotions (Corcos et al., 2000; Eshkevari et al., 2012; Lilenfeld et al., 2006; Matsumoto et al., 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine in depth the individual experience of transition from pregnancy to motherhood, among women with current eating disorders (EDs), focusing on differences between the first and subsequent pregnancies. Design and methods: We analysed the narratives of 12 women with severe ED during pregnancy using interpretative phenomenological analysis. We employed a sequential structure, and the emerging themes were ordered according to consecutive pregnancy stages. Results: Our results indicate that experiences of pregnancy vary across pregnancy stages and in the first pregnancy compared to subsequent pregnancies. In particular, during their first pregnancy women with an ED seem to experience an inner conflict and questioned the continuity of their ED identity leading them to be more open to change. Conclusions: The first pregnancy, during its early stages, should be considered a potentially unique window for intervention for women with current ED. Practitioner points: Eating disorders (EDs) are known to seriously affect fertility, pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes. Our research sheds a light on experiences of pregnancy in women with ED and ultimately helps to define a window for intervention. Our findings have important implications in understanding mechanisms of relapse in the post-partum period and consequently could help in tailoring an adequate intervention for women with ED and in preventing ED relapse.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015
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