Comparison of personality risk factors in bulimia nervosa and pathological gambling


Objective The objective of the study was to assess the predictive value of personality profiles to classify individuals with bulimia nervosa (BN), pathological gambling (PG), and a nonpsychiatric comparison group while controlling for sex.Methods The sample comprised 270 BN (241 women, 29 men), 429 PG (42 women, 387 men), and 96 comparison (nonpsychiatric) subjects (35 women, 61 men). All patients were consecutively admitted to our Psychiatry Department and were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision criteria. We administered the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised as well as other clinical indices. Multinomial and binary logistic regression models adjusted for age and stratified by sex were used to assess the predictive value of personality in relation to group status.Results In comparison to controls, high Novelty Seeking (P < .001) was specifically associated with a diagnosis of PG. Independently of sex, low Self-Directedness was associated with both BN (P < .001) and PG (P < .001). Some sex-specific differences were also observed; namely, women with BN and PG displayed higher Harm Avoidance and Cooperativeness than control women, whereas men with PG reported higher Reward Dependence and Persistence than control men.Conclusions Our results suggested that, whereas there are some shared personality traits between BN and PG when compared with healthy controls, there are also some sex- and diagnostic-specific personality traits that weigh against the consideration of BN as an impulse control disorder.

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