Psychopathological and personality traits underlie decision making in recent onset medication naive anorexia nervosa: A pilot study

Abstract

The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) analyzes the ability of participants to sacrifice immediate rewards in view of a long term gain. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) in addition to weight loss and body image disturbances is also characterized by the tendency to make decisions that may result in long-term negative outcomes. Studies that analyzed IGT performance in patients with AN were not consistent with each other. Fifteen adolescents with AN and 15 matched controls carried out IGT after being clinically and neuropsychologically evaluated. An interesting generalized estimating equation approach showed that four independent clinical variables, and not the group, explained IGT performances, such as blocks repetition, anxiety, psychogenic eating disorders and self transcendence. The impairment of decision making is not related to the diagnosis of AN, but it is driven by high levels of anxiety and self transcendence. Instead, some psychogenic eating disorders traits, related to illness severity, positively affected IGT performance in the whole sample. IGT impairment in AN found by prior studies could be related to these clinical features which are not always taken into account.

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