Early Improvement in Eating Attitudes During Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders: The Impact of Personality Disorder Cognitions.

Early Improvement in Eating Attitudes during Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders: The Impact of Personality Disorder Cognitions.

Filed under: Eating Disorders

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2013 Feb 1; 1-14
Park EC, Waller G, Gannon K

Background: The personality disorders are commonly comorbid with the eating disorders. Personality disorder pathology is often suggested to impair the treatment of axis 1 disorders, including the eating disorders. Aims: This study examined whether personality disorder cognitions reduce the impact of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for eating disorders, in terms of treatment dropout and change in eating disorder attitudes in the early stages of treatment. Method: Participants were individuals with a diagnosed eating disorder, presenting for individual outpatient CBT. They completed measures of personality disorder cognitions and eating disorder attitudes at sessions one and six of CBT. Drop-out rates prior to session six were recorded. Results: CBT had a relatively rapid onset of action, with a significant reduction in eating disorder attitudes over the first six sessions. Eating disorder attitudes were most strongly associated with cognitions related to anxiety-based personality disorders (avoidant, obsessive-compulsive and dependent). Individuals who dropped out of treatment prematurely had significantly higher levels of dependent personality disorder cognitions than those who remained in treatment. For those who remained in treatment, higher levels of avoidant, histrionic and borderline personality disorder cognitions were associated with a greater change in global eating disorder attitudes. Conclusions: CBT’s action and retention of patients might be improved by consideration of such personality disorder cognitions when formulating and treating the eating disorders.
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