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Compr Psychiatry. 2010 Nov-Dec;51(6):572-8. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Personality and psychopathology in children with and without loss of control over eating.

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Philipps University of Marburg, Department of Psychology Gutenbergstr. 18 D-35032 Marburg, Germany.



In children with loss of control (LOC) over eating, recent research has revealed evidence for distinct personality features, such as more impulsivity. The aim of this study was to assess parent- and child-report personality profiles in children with and without LOC over eating and to relate these profiles to general and eating-disorder psychopathology.


A total of 120 children (60 with LOC over eating; 68 girls) aged 8 to 13 years were recruited from the community. Clinical interview, self-report, and parent-report questionnaires were administered to assess personality as well as both general and eating-disorder psychopathology.


The group with LOC over eating showed lower self-directedness and cooperativeness compared to the group without LOC. The children with LOC were significantly more impulsive. Personality dimensions were significantly correlated with greater general but not eating-disorder psychopathology and frequency of LOC over eating.


A distinct pattern of personality traits in children with LOC over eating was found that is partly in line with research on binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and obesity in adulthood. The findings suggest that longitudinal studies should examine whether certain patterns of personality in children with LOC over eating account for differences in psychopathology later in life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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