Affective temperaments and eating psychopathology in anorexia nervosa: Which role for anxious and depressive traits?J Affect Disord. 2020 04 01; 266:374-380.JA
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe mental illness. Personality traits and comorbidity with affective and anxiety disorders are key-aspects of its pathogenesis but little attention has been paid so far to affective temperaments in AN. Also, childhood anxiety is proposed to impact on AN clinical severity. Therefore, we aimed to investigate if affective temperaments could be related to AN eating psychopathology also clarifying if those with low versus high scores on depressive and anxious temperaments could differ in AN clinical current and lifetime severity.
One-hundred and forty-seven inpatients with AN were consecutively recruited. All participants completed: Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego-Autoquestionnaire, Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire, State Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory. Clinical data were collected upon admission.
Regression models showed that all affective temperaments were associated with eating psychopathology (eating restraint and eating, shape, and weight concerns); however, when controlling for confounders, only the anxious temperament remained significant. Also, those patients with higher scores on depressive and anxious temperaments reported higher current and lowest lifetime body mass index (BMI).
Only inpatients were recruited; self-report assessments were used and follow-up data are lacking.
Results from this study support the association between affective (anxious in particular) temperament traits and the presence of altered eating psychopathology in AN. Also, higher traits of depressive and anxious temperaments reported higher current and lowest lifetime BMI. Should these findings be confirmed, the assessment of the anxious temperament could fruitfully inform prevention and treatment interventions for AN.