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EATING DISORDERS 2010  


Minerva Psichiatrica 2010 September;51(3):145-59

language: English

Body image distortion in female adolescents with anorexia nervosa

Sarrar L., Schneider N.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy Charité - Berlin Medical University, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Berlin, Germany


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Body image distortion is a main feature of anorexia nervosa (AN) and has become part of the definition in the two most common classification schemes: the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Body image distortion is a multidimensional concept including perceptual as well as attitudinal components, such as cognitive, affective and behavioural concerns with one’s body size. A lot of research has been carried out, revealing heterogeneous results. The aim of this review article is to compare studies of female adolescent patients with AN, as AN usually manifests during that period of life. Previous studies suggest a connection between body image distortion and certain personality features, as well as family environment. A lack of specific body image distortion treatment within general psychotherapeutic programs for adolescent patients has been reported, despite body image distortion having important prognostic and therapeutic implications. As a note, there are numerous methods for assessing body image distortion, making a comparison between the various studies difficult. Hence, more development is needed of specific assessment methods aiming at a unified approach that takes perceptual as well as affective aspects into account. In addition, the identification of potential influencing variables on body image distortion is an important issue for further research as well.

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