Personality in Anorexia nervosa: An update and a theoretical integration

Authors

  • S. Sohlberg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Psychology, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California Los Angeles, USA
      Staffan Sohlberg, Ph.D., Dept. of Clinical Psychology, Uppsala University, PO. Box 1225, S-751 42 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • M. Strober

    1. Department of Clinical Psychology, Uppsala University, Sweden, and Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California Los Angeles, USA
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Staffan Sohlberg, Ph.D., Dept. of Clinical Psychology, Uppsala University, PO. Box 1225, S-751 42 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract

No single cause is likely to be of supreme importance in the etiology of Anorexia nervosa, but personality factors continue to attract researchers' attention. This paper is a review of evidence on the subject, covering psychometric, interview, and projective investigations. Significant methodological problems exist in the literature, but do not suffice to explain findings of obsessive and inhibited features intermixed with impulsivity, and a high prevalence of defined personality disorders. Adding to previous work by Cloninger and Strober we suggest that vulnerable individuals are temperamentally incapable of coping with the challenges of adolescence by anything other than repetitive, reward seeking behavior. In a social environment that greatly emphasizes thinness as a criterion for self-worth and success, the outcome may be Anorexia nervosa.

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