The association of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive personality disorder with anorexia nervosa: Evidence from a family study with discussion of nosological and neurodevelopmental implications

Authors

  • Michael Strober PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    2. Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
    • Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California at Los Angeles, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759
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  • Roberta Freeman RN,

    1. Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Carlyn Lampert MSW,

    1. Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Jane Diamond MSW

    1. Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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Abstract

Background:

To investigate the association of anorexia nervosa with anxiety disorders through use of a case–control family study design.

Method:

Lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive personality disorder was determined among 574 first-degree relatives of 152 probands with anorexia nervosa and compared to rates observed among 647 first-degree relatives of 181 never-ill control probands.

Results:

Adjusting for comorbidity of the same illness in the proband, relatives of probands with anorexia nervosa, had a significantly higher prevalence of generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder compared to relatives of never-ill control probands.

Conclusion:

Anorexia nervosa may share familial liability factors in common with various anxiety phenotypes. In suggesting that a transmitted propensity for anxiety is a key aspect of vulnerability in anorexia nervosa, the findings point to research developments in the affective neurosciences, specifically the neurocircuitry of fear and anxiety, as a heuristic framework in which to interpret aspects of premorbid temperamental anxieties and clinical symptoms. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007

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