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Personality-based subtypes of anorexia nervosa: examining validity and utility using baseline clinical variables and ecological momentary assessment.

  • Author(s): Lavender, Jason M
  • Wonderlich, Stephen A
  • Crosby, Ross D
  • Engel, Scott G
  • Mitchell, James E
  • Crow, Scott J
  • Peterson, Carol B
  • Le Grange, Daniel
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0005-7967(13)00095-8
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

Objective

This study sought to empirically derive and validate clinically relevant personality-based subtypes of anorexia nervosa (AN).

Methods

Women (N = 116) with full or subthreshold AN completed baseline measures of personality, clinical variables, and eating disorder (ED) symptoms, followed by two weeks of ecological momentary assessment (EMA). A latent profile analysis was conducted to identify personality subtypes, which were compared on baseline clinical variables and EMA variables.

Results

The best-fitting model supported three subtypes: underregulated, overregulated, and low psychopathology. The underregulated subtype (characterized by high Stimulus Seeking, Self-Harm, and Oppositionality) displayed greater baseline ED symptoms, as well as lower positive affect and greater negative affect, self-discrepancy, and binge eating in the natural environment. The overregulated subtype (characterized by high Compulsivity and low Stimulus Seeking) was more likely to have a lifetime obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis and exhibited greater perfectionism; levels of negative affect, positive affect, and self-discrepancy in this group were intermediate between the other subtypes. The low psychopathology subtype (characterized by normative personality) displayed the lowest levels of baseline ED symptoms, co-occurring disorders, and ED behaviors measured via EMA.

Conclusions

Findings support the validity of these personality-based subtypes, suggesting the potential utility of addressing within-diagnosis heterogeneity in the treatment of AN.

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