The aim of this study was to compare patients admitted to a specialized inpatient program for anorexia nervosa (AN) with and without a fear of weight gain in terms of specific eating disorder symptoms, general psychopathology, and treatment outcome.
Measures of specific and general psychopathology were administered at admission to and discharge from the inpatient program. Of the 138 participants, 81% (n = 112) were categorized as having clinical levels of “fear of weight gain” and 19% (n = 26) were categorized as having subclinical levels of this feature.
The subclinical-level group had lower scores on measures of eating disorder psychopathology, depression, general psychiatric disturbance, and obsessive-compulsive symptomatology, but higher self-esteem scores. There were no differences found in terms of age of onset of AN, duration of illness, AN subtype, body mass index, or treatment outcome.
The current findings provide evidence that underweight patients who deny a fear of weight gain are less disturbed in terms of both eating disorder pathology and general psychopathology. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2011; 44:220–224)