The interaction of personality disorders and eating disorders: A two-year prospective study of patients with longstanding eating disorders




The current study aimed to investigate the relation between personality disorders and symptoms of both eating disorders and general psychopathology over time.


Seventy-four patients, with a mean age of 30 years and admitted to a hospital for treatment of a chronic eating disorder, were assessed using the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE), the Symptom Check List-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II disorders (SCID-II) at admission, and after 1 and 2 years.


At the 2-year follow-up, there was considerable reduction in both personality and symptoms (effect size = 0.83–0.94). Panel modeling using structural equation modeling techniques indicated that symptomatic changes generally preceded changes in the personality disorder.


Eating disorder symptoms and general symptomatology had direct effects on a dimensional personality disorder index. Thus, personality disorders may be at least partially a consequence of general symptomatology in chronic eating disorders. Symptom improvement appears to precede changes in personality in this sample of patients with chronic eating disorders. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.