Psychological Medicine



Personality subtyping and bulimia nervosa: psychopathological and genetic correlates


STEPHEN A. WONDERLICH a1c1, ROSS D. CROSBY a2, THOMAS JOINER a3, CAROL B. PETERSON a4, ANNA BARDONE-CONE a5, MARJORIE KLEIN a6, SCOTT CROW a4, JAMES E. MITCHELL a1, DANIEL LE GRANGE a7, HOWARD STEIGER a8, GREG KOLDEN a6, FRANK JOHNSON a3 and SUZANNE VRSHEK a3
a1 University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, ND, USA
a2 Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, ND, USA
a3 Florida State University, FL, USA
a4 University of Minnesota, MN, USA
a5 University of Missouri, MO, USA
a6 University of Wisconsin, WI, USA
a7 The University of Chicago, IL, USA
a8 McGill University, Quebec, Canada

Article author query
wonderlich sa   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
crosby rd   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
joiner t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
peterson cb   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bardone-cone a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
klein m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
crow s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mitchell je   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
le grange d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
steiger h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kolden g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
johnson f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
vrshek s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

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.


Correspondence:
c1 University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Neurosciences, 1919 North Elm Street, Fargo, ND 58102, USA. (Email: stephenw@medicine.nodak.edu)


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