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Cognitive and Behavioural Characteristics

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DSM‐IV categorizes eating disorders according to behavioural and cognitive characteristics. Based on personality‐related and biological research, hypotheses have been formulated to explain differences in the symptomatology between the various types of eating disorders. Therefore, the study of the association between personality‐related characteristics and behavioural and cognitive characteristics may contribute to our understanding of the causes and course of eating disorders. This study aimed, first, at describing personality characteristics (using Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory) in a group of eating disordered patients (n = 272) according to the type of eating disorder. Three groups were compared: restricting anorexics (n = 71), purging anorexics (n = 84) and bulimics (n = 118). Secondly, the association between personality characteristics and cognitive and behavioural aspects, using the Eating Disorders Inventory and the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, was measured. In bulimics, positive correlations were found between novelty seeking on the one hand and external and emotional eating and bulimia on the other. Contrary to expectation, there was no significant correlation between novelty seeking and body dissatisfaction in bulimics. The significant difference between the restricting and purging type of anorexics regarding self‐directedness, and restrained and emotional eating and drive for thinness corresponded with the significant negative correlation between these characteristics. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/erv.532

Affiliations: 1: Outpatient Department of Psychiatry, Section of Eating Disorders, University Hospital Gent, Belgium 2: Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Gent, Belgium

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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