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Compr Psychiatry. 2004 Jan-Feb;45(1):37-43.

Personality-related characteristics in restricting versus binging and purging eating disordered patients.

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  • 1Centre for Eating Disorders, University Department of Psychiatry, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.


The current study sought to examine differences in personality-related characteristics between restricting anorexia nervosa (RAN), binging/purging anorexia (BPAN), and purging bulimia nervosa (BN) patients. Scores on the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and on the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ) were compared for 166 RAN, 78 BPAN, and 151 BN patients. Bingers/purgers showed a higher score for restrained, external and emotional eating and a lower score for a subscale of "self-directedness" compared to patients who never binge and purge. Personality differences were most marked between RAN and BN patients, while personality characteristics of BPAN patients tended to be similar to those of BN patients. BN patients showed higher scores on "novelty seeking" and the subscales "exploratory excitability," "impulsivity," and "extravagance," and lower scores on "self-directedness," compared to restricting patients. Moreover RAN patients also showed higher scores on subscales of character dimensions, compared to BN patients. The higher the scores on novelty seeking, the lower the scores on several character scales, which has important implications for the reinforcement of behavior and the treatment of eating disorders.

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