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Temperament and Anorexia


A look at the temperament of perfectionism and how it is related to anorexia:

"Temperament is generally defined as innate early emotional and behavioral characteristics that precede puberty and adult development. Felt to have significant genetic components, temperament is also potentially influenced by environmental factors.

There are a variety of temperament domains that have received significant attention in childhood, adolescent and adult populations.

Some of the most commonly studied domains include:

  • neuroticism
  • harm avoidance
  • novelty seeking
  • reward dependence
  • perfectionism (subdomains have included: concern about mistakes, personal standards, doubts about actions, organization

The temperament of perfectionism has been noted to be elevated in clinical samples of women with anorexia nervosa (AN). AN has been conceptualized as an overvalued importance of being in control over eating and weight. Control is a key element of perfectionism as it relates to reducing risk of mistakes and maintaining organization). Previous studies looking at perfectionism in AN have had limited potential to understand the direction of the relationship between temperament and the diagnosis of AN. Perfectionism could develop after the illness in response to weight loss or other factors."

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