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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2000 Sep;188(9):559-67.

Temperament and character in women with anorexia nervosa.

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Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA.


The present study examined temperament differences among anorexia nervosa (AN) subtypes and community controls, as well as the effect of body weight on personality traits in women with AN. Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) scores were compared between 146 women with restrictor-type AN (RAN), 117 women with purging-type AN (PAN), 60 women with binge/purge-type AN (BAN), and 827 community control women (CW) obtained from an archival normative database. Women with AN scored significantly higher on harm avoidance and significantly lower on cooperativeness than CW. Subtype analyses revealed that women with RAN and PAN reported the lowest novelty seeking, RAN women the highest persistence and self-directedness, and PAN women the highest harm avoidance. Body mass index had a nominal effect on subgroup differences, suggesting that personality disturbances are independent of body weight. Findings suggest that certain facets of temperament differ markedly between women with AN, regardless of diagnostic subtype, and controls. More subtle temperament and character differences that were independent of body weight emerged that distinguish among subtypes of AN.

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