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Psychopathology in anorexia nervosa and depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA.


It has been hypothesized that anorexia nervosa is characterized by ineffectiveness, interpersonal distrust, and lack of interoceptive awareness. The Eating Disorder Inventory differentiates patients with anorexia nervosa from weight-preoccupied women on the basis of these subscales. To test further the specificity of these characteristics to anorexia nervosa, the Eating Disorder Inventory scores of 20 adolescent girls diagnosed with anorexia nervosa were compared with those of 21 girls with major depression and 21 girls with both anorexia nervosa and depression. Analyses of variance and discriminant function analysis revealed no significant differences in the scores of the three groups. By 2-year followup, subjects initially diagnosed with only anorexia nervosa showed less psychopathology than those with an additional diagnosis of depression. These findings raise further questions about the overlap between depression and anorexia nervosa and leave open the question of characteristic psychological features in anorexia nervosa.

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