Neuropsychological psychopathology measures in women with eating disorders, their healthy sisters, and nonrelated healthy controls

Michal Hason Rozenstein, Yael Latzer, Daniel Stein, Zohar Eviatar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the familial influence on neuropsychological dysfunction in eating disorders (ED) patients by comparing 16 patients with restricting type anorexia nervosa (AN-R), 18 patients with bingeing purging type anorexia nervosa, 20 patients with bulimia nervosa binge-purge type, 21 of the patients' nonaffected sisters, and 20 nonrelated healthy controls. Methods: Self-report questionnaires assessing psychopathology and 2 computerized cognitive tasks measuring hemispheric asymmetry for language and visuospatial abilities were administered to all participant groups. Results: On the self-report questionnaires, ED patients scored significantly more pathological than the healthy controls, whereas the healthy sisters were similar to the nonrelated healthy control group. For both of the computerized tasks, the behavior pattern of the sisters was similar to that of all, or most ED groups, and were significantly different from the nonrelated healthy controls. In addition, AN-R patients performed significantly worse on the visuospatial task than the other ED groups. Conclusions: The dissociation between the performance on the cognitive tasks and psychopathology measures in healthy sisters, when compared to the ED and nonrelated healthy control groups, suggests that disturbances in neurocognitive functioning in ED patients are not necessarily the result of ED-related dysfunction. Rather, this may indicate general individual differences in cognitive processes that may run in families irrespective of the ED condition of the family member. The findings, with respect to the AN-R patients, support a neurocognitive continuum model of EDs in which AN-R represents the most severe form of the illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-595
Number of pages9
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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