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Personality subtypes in eating disorders: validation of a classification in a naturalistic sample

  • Heather Thompson-Brenner (a1) and Drew Westen (a2)
Abstract
Background

Research has identified three personality subtypes in patients with eating disorders: emotionally dysregulated, constricted and high-functioning/perfectionistic.

Aims

To see whether the subtypes are distinguished in ways indicative of valid classification, notably in patterns of adaptive functioning, comorbidity, treatment response and therapeutic interventions.

Method

A random sample of experienced clinicians provided data on 145 patients with bulimic symptoms, including data on eating disorder symptoms, DSM–IV comorbidity, personality pathology, treatment response and treatment interventions.

Results

Patients categorised as dysregulated had the poorest functioning, most comorbidity and worst outcome, followed by patients in the constricted and high-functioning groups. The three subtypes elicited different therapeutic interventions and accounted for substantial incremental variance in outcome, holding constant the severity of eating disorder symptoms and presence of other Axis I disorders.

Conclusions

The data provide accumulating evidence for the validity of three personality subtypes in patients with eating disorders.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Heather Thompson-Brenner, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of Psychology, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Tel: +1 617 353 9236; fax: +1 617 353 9609; e-mail: ht141@hotmail.com
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Personality subtypes in eating disorders: validation of a classification in a naturalistic sample

  • Heather Thompson-Brenner (a1) and Drew Westen (a2)
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