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December 2021

The Big Five and eating disorders: A prospective study in the general population

Author(s): Scott, B.

Journal/Book: Eur J Personality. 2000; 14: Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1UD, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 311-323.

Abstract: The present study assessed the Big-Five personality dimensions according to the lexical hypothesis among participants with a lifetime history of eating disorders (ED) (n = 84), as well as participants with a first-time incidence of ED (n = 33) compared to participants with no history of ED (non-ED, n = 1014). Personality and ED were investigated with self-report questionnaires among women (n = 1157) randomly selected from the general population. Participants with a lifetime ED reported significantly: lower levels of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and a significantly higher level of Openness compared to the non-ED. When Emotional Stability was controlled for, participants with ED scored higher on Openness compared to controls. Participants were followed up after two years. Thirty-three participants with complete data on all the scales developed an eating disorder for the first time at follow-np. This first-time incidence group had a very similar pattern of personality prior to developing any symptoms of ED (i.e. Low on Agreeableness and Emotional Stability, find high on Openness) to those with a lifetime history of ED, and significantly different from those who never reported arty symptoms of ED (controls, n = 636). This pattern resembles the Type 3 personality according to Caspi and colleagues. It is suggested that the presence of some specific personality traits may be regarded as a risk factor for developing ED.

Note: Article Ghaderi A, Dept Psychol, Box 1225, SE-75142 Uppsala, SWEDEN


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