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An examination of early childhood perfectionism across anorexia nervosa subtypes




To examine childhood perfectionism in anorexia nervosa (AN) restricting (RAN), purging (PAN), and binge eating with or without purging (BAN) subtypes.


The EATATE, a retrospective assessment of childhood perfectionism, and the eating disorder inventory (EDI-2) were administered to 728 AN participants.


EATATE responses revealed general childhood perfectionism, 22.3% of 333 with RAN, 29.2% of 220 with PAN, and 24.8% of 116 with BAN; school work perfectionism, 31.2% with RAN, 30.4% with PAN, and 24.8% with BAN; childhood order and symmetry, 18.7% with RAN, 21.7% with PAN, and 17.8% with BAN; and global childhood rigidity, 42.6% with RAN, 48.3% with PAN and 48.1% with BAN. Perfectionism preceded the onset of AN in all subtypes. Significant associations between EDI-2 drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction were present with four EATATE subscales.


Global childhood rigidity was the predominate feature that preceded all AN subtypes. This may be a risk factor for AN. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012; 45:800–807)