Worry and eating disorders: a psychopathological association

Eat Behav. 2005 Dec;6(4):301-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2005.05.001. Epub 2005 Jun 13.


Worry is a mental process associated with anxiety disorders. The key feature of worry is the predominance of a negative-type and preoccupied thought about possible threatening future events.

Objective: Some studies have shown that worry may be a feature of eating disorders. This study aims to measure whether worry is significantly higher in eating disordered individuals than in a normal control group and whether worry is associated with the Eating Disorders Inventory.

Methods: Sixty-three individuals affected by an eating disorder (34 anorexics and 29 bulimics) completed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM, and the Eating Disorder Inventory. Thirty normal controls completed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire.

Results: Penn State Worry Questionnaire scores were significantly higher in eating disordered individuals than in controls. It was associated with all the symptoms of eating disorders and was correlated with all the EDI subscales, except for the subscale 'bulimia'. These findings suggest that worry is important for understanding the psychopathology of eating disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires