Influence of overanxious disorder of childhood on the expression of anorexia nervosa




Childhood anxiety often precedes the onset of anorexia nervosa (AN) and may mark a liability to the emergence of an eating disorder for some women. This study investigates the prevalence of overanxious disorder (OAD) among women with AN and explores how OAD impacts AN symptoms and personality traits.


Participants were 637 women with AN who completed an eating disorders history, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders, and assessments for childhood anxiety, eating disorder attitudes, and associated personality traits.


Of 249 women (39.1%) reporting a history of OAD, 235 (94.4%) met criteria for OAD before meeting criteria for AN. In comparison to those without OAD, women with AN and OAD self-reported more extreme personality traits and attitudes and they engaged in more compensatory behaviors.


Among individuals with AN, those entering AN on a pathway via OAD present with more severe eating disorder pathology. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008