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Core Beliefs in Anorexic and Bulimic Women


The Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: December 1999 - Volume 187 - Issue 12 - p 736-741

There is research evidence to suggest the presence of dysfunctional cognitions in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa that are not related to food, weight, or shape. These maladaptive cognitions have not been addressed by the conventional cognitive behavioral models of etiology or therapy. This study aimed to assess the impact of unhealthy core beliefs on eating disorders and their symptoms. Twenty restricting anorexics, 10 bulimic anorexics, 27 bulimics, and 23 normal controls completed Young's Schema Questionnaire. Eating behaviors and attitudes were also measured. The results indicate that both anorexic and bulimic women had significantly higher levels of unhealthy core beliefs than comparison women, but the clinical groups only differed on one individual core belief (entitlement). However, there were different patterns of association between core beliefs and eating psychopathology in anorexic and bulimic women. It is suggested that future clinical practice should incorporate core beliefs as a potential element in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders.

1 Eating Disorders Service, Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2QZ, United Kingdom. Send requests for reprints to Mr. Leung.

2 Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

3 School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.