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Psychosom Med. 1990 Mar-Apr;52(2):156-70.

Personality features of women with good outcome from restricting anorexia nervosa.

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University of Chicago, Illinois.


Personality characteristics were assessed in women who had physically and, in the majority, psychologically recovered from restricting anorexia nervosa at an 8- to 10-year follow-up. Personality dimensions were evaluated using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire, the California Personality Inventory, and the Reid-Ware Scale. Women who had recovered from anorexia nervosa rated higher on risk avoidance, displayed greater restraint in emotional expression and initiative, and showed greater conformance to authority than age-matched normal women. On comparison with their sisters, the recovered women reported a greater degree of self- and impulse control and less enterprise and spontaneity; sisters, however, endorsed equally high moral standards. The differences in personality characteristics remained significant after statistically controlling for depressive symptoms and eating behavior. The results suggest that a temperamental disposition toward emotional and behavioral restraint combined with a strong sense for traditional values may be psychological risk factors for the development of the restricting type of anorexia nervosa.

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