This study examined personality and affective variables in relation to eating disorder symptoms in anorexia nervosa (AN). Women (N=118) with DSM-IV AN completed baseline questionnaires (Beck Depression Inventory, Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale) and interviews (Eating Disorder Examination, Yale-Brown-Cornell Eating Disorder Scale), followed by two weeks of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) involving multiple daily reports of affective states and eating disorder behaviors. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted using eating disorder symptoms as dependent variables (i.e., EMA binge eating, EMA self-induced vomiting, eating disorder rituals, eating disorder preoccupations, dietary restraint). Predictor variables were maladaptive perfectionism (baseline), depressive symptoms (baseline), and affect lability (EMA). Results revealed that affect lability was independently associated with binge eating, whereas depressive symptoms were independently associated with self-induced vomiting. Depressive symptoms were independently associated with eating disorder rituals, whereas both depressive symptoms and maladaptive perfectionism were independently associated with eating disorder preoccupations. Finally, maladaptive perfectionism and affect lability were both independently associated with dietary restraint. This pattern of findings suggests the importance of affective and personality constructs in relation to eating disorder symptoms in AN and may highlight the importance of targeting these variables in the context of treatment.
- Eating pathology