Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Perception of hunger and satiety in anorexia nervosa1

Paul E. Garfinkela1 p1

a1 Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Canada


Eleven patients with anorexia and 11 matched controls were given questionnaires on hunger and satiety before and after a standard meal in order to evaluate the way in which patients with anorexia nervosa consciously recognize and describe their sensations of hunger and satiety. The findings showed that the patients perceived hunger in a manner similar to the controls, but they were more preoccupied with thoughts of food, had a stronger urge to eat, and were more anxious when hungry. The patients, unlike the controls, frequently did not describe satiety in terms of gastric fullness. The disordered perception of satiety, however, was not related to clinical outcome. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for treating anorexia nervosa.


p1 Present address: Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel, Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Canada.


1 A modified version of this paper was presented to the Third Psychiatric Forum, F. W. Homer, Ltd.