Psychobiology analysed the personality of 150 young women aged 24 on average, who were distributed into three different groups. A first group was made up of young women diagnosed as having purging-type bulimia nervosa (60%) and purging-type anorexia nervosa (40%); a second group was formed by participants who, even though they were not ill, showed restrictive eating behaviours; finally, the third was a control group.

“What we observed was that 48.5% of participants from the first group, that is, women with anorexia or bulimia nervosa, fit the criteria of a personality disorder”, comments Azucena García Palacios, principal investigator of the study. The most frequent pathological personality patterns were those of an avoidant and self-destructive type. Since these patterns are accompanied by eating disorders, they can play a significant role in the failure of treatments for anorexia and bulimia”.

“This result supports the increasingly widespread idea of the need to design and validate programmes for treating eating behaviour disorders which include components and strategies aimed to treat the personality pathology”, add the authors.

As for the participants from the second group (made up of healthy young women but who show certain restrictive eating behaviours that can be understood as a prelude to anorexia or bulimia), they obtained significantly higher scores than the control group participants as far as the eating and personality pathology was concerned. In other words, these women had certain pathological personality traits in addition to a certain tendency to control their calorie intake.

MEDICA.de; Source: Universitat Jaume I