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Int J Eat Disord. 2007 Nov;40 Suppl:S46-51.

The association of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive personality disorder with anorexia nervosa: evidence from a family study with discussion of nosological and neurodevelopmental implications.

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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, California 90024-1759, USA.



To investigate the association of anorexia nervosa with anxiety disorders through use of a case-control family study design.


Lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive personality disorder was determined among 574 first-degree relatives of 152 probands with anorexia nervosa and compared to rates observed among 647 first-degree relatives of 181 never-ill control probands.


Adjusting for comorbidity of the same illness in the proband, relatives of probands with anorexia nervosa, had a significantly higher prevalence of generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder compared to relatives of never-ill control probands.


Anorexia nervosa may share familial liability factors in common with various anxiety phenotypes. In suggesting that a transmitted propensity for anxiety is a key aspect of vulnerability in anorexia nervosa, the findings point to research developments in the affective neurosciences, specifically the neurocircuitry of fear and anxiety, as a heuristic framework in which to interpret aspects of premorbid temperamental anxieties and clinical symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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