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J Psychiatr Res. 1995 Jul-Aug;29(4):333-42.

Obsessionality in eating-disorder patients: relationship to clinical presentation and two-year outcome.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0118, USA.


Obsessionality and obsessive-compulsive symptoms have been regarded as important characteristics in the clinical presentation of the eating disorders. In this report, we examined the relation between obsessionality and the clinical presentation and outcome of a sample of eating-disordered patients. Self-rated obsessional symptoms, defined by the obsessive-compulsive subscale of the Symptom Checklist 90 (revised version), were compared with presenting clinical symptomatology, and scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) in a sample of 110 consecutively evaluated women who met DSM-IIIR criteria for eating disorders. Forty patients were contacted for a follow-up investigation, 2 years after the initial evaluation. Higher obsessive-compulsive subscale scores at presentation were associated with more severe dieting, a greater number of psychiatric hospitalizations, and higher EDI, SCL-90R and BDI scores. Initial obsessive-compulsive scores did not predict the subsequent outcome of a sample of these patients in the community. However, elevated obsessive-compulsive scores obtained at follow-up were associated with the presence of lower body weight and more severe eating-disorder symptoms at that time. These results support the hypothesis that elevated obsessionality is associated with more severe eating disorder symptomatology. In addition, obsessional symptoms change along with those of the eating disorder, and their persistence may be associated with a poorer outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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