MMPI-2-RF and EEG correlates of disordered eating behaviors in a clinical and non-clinical sample

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brittany Lee Lance (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Winford Gordon

Abstract: Eating disorders produce the highest mortality rates of any mental health diagnoses; between 5-20% of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa will die from it or associated medical complications. In an expansive study of adult women with anorexia nervosa, Steinhausen (2002) found that less than half of individuals with anorexia had a full recovery, one third of individuals improved, and 20.8% of individuals lived with chronic anorexia. In a study of women with bulimia nervosa, Steinhausen (2009) found the overall mortality rate to be between .3 and 3.1%. In surviving patients, slightly less than half of individuals with bulimia had a full recovery, 26% of individuals improved, and 26% of individuals lived with chronic bulimia. Binge-eating disorder appears to be relatively persistent and the course is comparable to that of bulimia nervosa in terms of severity and duration (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Additionally, there is also a high prevalence of comorbid psychiatric and personality disorders associated with eating disorders. Based on a national comorbidity survey, 56.2% of respondents with anorexia nervosa, 94.5% of respondents with bulimia nervosa, and 78.9% of respondents with binge-eating disorder qualified for at least one core mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder in the DSM-IV (Hudson et al., 2012). Considering these rates of comorbidity, research advances in the relationship between psychopathology and eating disorders could increase the diagnostic specificity and accuracy of eating disorders. Along with comorbidity, research also suggests that there are physiological markers associated with eating disorders, including abnormal brain wave activity. Hatch et al. (2011) found that individuals with anorexia have EEG abnormalities both before and after refeeding, specifically low alpha waves and increased beta and theta waves. Greenblatt et al. (2011) suggested that EEG data could assist clinicians in identifying individuals suffering from eating disorders with associated depressive and anxiety symptoms. Results suggested that patients whose treatment modalities were guided by Key EEG data reported significant decreases in depressive symptoms and severity of eating disorder and a significant increase in overall clinical improvement. These results are encouraging due to eating disorders being difficult to treat. This study examined the relationship between personality and psychopathology, as identified by MMPI-2-RF scales, EEG activity, and disordered eating in a clinical and non-clinical sample of adult women. The non-clinical sample included individuals with mild or no disordered eating to provide a normal comparison group. The clinical sample included women diagnosed with a recognized eating disorder. Specific measures of disordered eating behavior were collected. Results may identify additional EEG markers or personality indicators that are associated with disordered eating. Additional data about psychopathologies that are comorbid with disordered eating could advance treatment specificity and efficacy. The research functioned under the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework to investigate relationships between psychological constructs and physiological measures. This paper will review the history and current diagnostic conceptualization of eating disorders, previous literature outlining the use of the MMPI and EEG correlates to distinguish disordered eating behaviors, and will outline the hypotheses, methodology, and results of this study.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Anorexia Nervosa, Binge-eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Eating Disorders, EEG, MMPI-2-RF
Eating disorders -- Diagnosis
Eating disorders -- Pathophysiology
Brain -- Pathophysiology
Eating disorders -- Psychological aspects
Psychology, Pathological

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