[A study of personality in eating disorders]

Actas Luso Esp Neurol Psiquiatr Cienc Afines. 1998 Sep-Oct;26(5):288-96.
[Article in Spanish]


Some evidence suggests that temperament and personality traits could influence the development and severity of eating disorders. This study was designed to study these aspects.

Methods: 72 patients with DSM-IV eating disorders including 25 anorexia nervosa restricting type, 17 with anorexia nervosa binge eating-purging type and 30 with bulimia nervosa were studied and compared with thirty healthy controls. Personality disorders and temperament were studied with the Eysenck's EPQ, Cloninger's TCI and SCID-II. Impulsive and clinical features were studied with specific rating scales.

Results: 61.8% of patients had at least one personality disorder. Avoidant personality disorder was the most commonly diagnosed in anorexia restricting type (25%). Borderline personality disorder was the most frequent in bulimia nervosa and in the binge eating-purging type of anorexia nervosa. Dimensionally, the group of eating disorders presented high scores in neuroticism and low scores in self-directedness. Higher harm avoidance was found in bulimic patients and higher persistence was associated with anorectic patients. Bulimic patients were significantly more impulsive than anorectic and controls.

Conclusions: Temperament and personality traits differ in anorectic and bulimic patients. Bulimic symptoms are linked to impulsive temperament traits and to impulsive personality features. Anorectic symptoms are linked to persistent temperament traits and anxious personality features.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales