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Personality subtyping and bulimia nervosa: psychopathological and genetic correlates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 January 2005

STEPHEN A. WONDERLICH
Affiliation:
University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, ND, USA
ROSS D. CROSBY
Affiliation:
Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, ND, USA
THOMAS JOINER
Affiliation:
Florida State University, FL, USA
CAROL B. PETERSON
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota, MN, USA
ANNA BARDONE-CONE
Affiliation:
University of Missouri, MO, USA
MARJORIE KLEIN
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, WI, USA
SCOTT CROW
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota, MN, USA
JAMES E. MITCHELL
Affiliation:
University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, ND, USA
DANIEL LE GRANGE
Affiliation:
The University of Chicago, IL, USA
HOWARD STEIGER
Affiliation:
McGill University, Quebec, Canada
GREG KOLDEN
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, WI, USA
FRANK JOHNSON
Affiliation:
Florida State University, FL, USA
SUZANNE VRSHEK
Affiliation:
Florida State University, FL, USA

Abstract

Background. There is empirical evidence suggesting that individuals with bulimia nervosa vary considerably in terms of psychiatric co-morbidity and personality functioning. In this study, latent profile analysis was used to attempt to identify clusters of bulimic subjects based on psychiatric co-morbidity and personality.

Method. A total of 178 women with bulimia nervosa or a subclinical variant of bulimia nervosa completed a series of self-report inventories of co-morbid psychopathology and personality, and also provided a buccal smear sample for genetic analyses.

Results. Three clusters of bulimic women were identified: an affective-perfectionistic cluster, an impulsive cluster, and a low co-morbid psychopathology cluster. The clusters showed expected differences on external validation tests with both personality and eating-disorder measures. The impulsive cluster showed the highest elevations on dissocial behavior and the lowest scores on compulsivity, while the affective-perfectionistic cluster showed the highest levels of eating-disorder symptoms. The clusters did not differ on genetic variations of the serotonin transporter gene.

Conclusions. This study corroborates previous findings suggesting that the bulimia nervosa diagnostic category is comprised of three classes of individuals based on co-morbid psychopathology and personality. These differences may have significant etiological and treatment implications.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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