Eating Disorder Research Analysis

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Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Traits in

Adult Women With Eating Disorders: A Critical Analysis

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Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Traits in

Adult Women With Eating Disorders: A Research Analysis

As most people know, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are two eating disorders in which a person deprives themselves of the nutrients in food by refusing to eat or purging after eating a substantial amount. What many do not know, however, is that both diseases may have a component that deals with the occurrence of obsessive-compulsive personality traits as children. In this research analysis, we’ll discuss the study regarding the connection between eating disorders in women and obsessive-compulsive personality traits exhibited as children. In addition, we will examine how the research relates to human needs including the topics covered in class. Lastly, we’ll go through whom the study in question could benefit and how as well as the questions I had after reading this study.

Anorexia and bulimia nervosa are similar eating disorders, which have many environmental and hereditary factors that have the potential to contribute to the conditions. This study was conducted to examine the correlation between childhood obsessive-compulsive personality traits and future eating disorders in women. Childhood traits such as perfectionism, pre-occupation with orderliness, excessive doubt, and rigidity are reflected by obsessive-compulsive personalities. The initial hypothesis of the study was that childhood obsessive-compulsive personality traits are significant factors in whether or not future eating disorders develop. In addition, the more obsessive-compulsive traits a person has, the more likely that person will develop some sort of eating disorder in the future (Anderluh, Tchanturia, Rabe-Hesketh, & Treasure, 2003).

The study conducted by Anderluh et al. (2003) consisted of 44 females with the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, 28 diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, and 28 healthy women to use as comparison subjects. The participants with eating disorders were recruited from a treatment facility in London while the healthy partakers were selected from two universities in the United Kingdom. The method used for the study was a case control design, which is an observational approach that allows researchers to examine and observe the subjects in a setting. Unlike a randomized control trial, a case control study doesn’t involve the subjects being exposed to different groups in a trial. There were four key components in the study that each had their own unique purpose. In addition to having their body mass recorded, the subjects were interviewed on 30 different occasions in respects to their past obsessive-compulsive behavior, completed a self-report inventory of OCD symptoms, and administered an adult reading test. After completion of the different sections, the study came to an end and the results were examined.

As previously stated, there were four different components in the study including recording Body Mass Index (BMI), being interviewed about past obsessive-compulsive behavior, completing a self-report inventory of OCD symptoms as children, and finishing an adult reading test. First of all, there was a significant difference between the BMI of test subjects across the groups. The average BMI recorded for an anorexic was 15.9, the average for a bulimic was 21.6, and the average for the healthy comparison subjects was 22.1. The results of the 30 interviews conducted on the subjects about their past obsessive-compulsive behavior showed some interesting trends. Nearly 67% (two-thirds) of patients with anorexia nervosa reported perfectionism and at least one other obsessive-compulsive personality trait as a child. The same subjects were also similar ages when their eating disorders developed and their body masses...
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