Objective: There is preliminary evidence for an association between personality traits and binge eating disorder (BED) in obese patients. In addition, recent studies have shown impaired psychodynamic personality functioning in BED. However, these results are partly inconsistent. The goal of this study was to explore and evaluate personality traits and personality functioning in obese patients with BED or subthreshold BED. Moreover, we aimed to explore the additional value of combined assessment of personality traits and personality functioning.

Methods: Treatment-seeking obese female patients with BED (n=129) or subthreshold BED (n=91) were compared with obese (n=107) and nonobese (n=90) female community controls in terms of personality traits (using the Temperament and Character Inventory) and personality functioning (using the Developmental Profile Inventory) in univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Harm Avoidance was higher and Self-Directedness was lower in obese patients with BED or subthreshold BED compared with obese and nonobese community controls. In addition, obese patients with BED or subthreshold BED presented more maladaptive and less adaptive personality functioning than controls. Although univariate analyses did not find significant differences in personality traits or personality functioning between obese patients with BED and those with subthreshold BED, when both personality traits and personality functioning were combined in multivariate analysis (data from both the Temperament and Character Inventory and Developmental Profile Inventory), obese patients with BED showed greater vulnerabilities in personality traits and functioning than obese patients with subthreshold BED.

Conclusions: Obese patients with BED or subthreshold BED had specific impairments in personality traits and personality functioning. Combined assessment indicated that patients with BED had the most vulnerable personality profile of the 4 groups. The results support the added value of assessment of both personality traits and psychodynamic personality functioning, in line with the alternative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) model for personality disorders.

doi.org/10.1097/PRA.0000000000000513, hdl.handle.net/1765/131877
Journal of Psychiatric Practice

Van Riel, L, Van den Berg, E., Polak, M.G, Geerts, M., Peen, J, Ingenhoven, T, & Dekker, J. (2020). Personality Functioning in Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder: Combining a Psychodynamic and Trait Perspective. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 26(6), 472–484. doi:10.1097/PRA.0000000000000513