Anxiety and defense styles in eating disorders

Vesna Vidović, Neven Henigsberg, Vesna Juresa
Collegium Antropologicum 2003, 27 Suppl 1: 125-34
This study investigates anxiety and defense styles in eating disorders. Seventy eating disorder (ED) patients and fifty-one female matched control subjects completed State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and 88-items Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ). ED patients were more anxious in actual situations and more anxiety prone in general. They relied on maladaptive action and Image distorting defense style. Bulimic anorexic (BAN) patients and bulimia nervosa (BN) patients differed in defense styles from restrictive anorexic (RAN) patients who displayed no significant difference in either state and trait anxiety or in defense styles when compared to healthy patients. Different levels of anxiety and ego defense maturity are present in ED patients. The almost normal ego functioning of RAN patients could be explained by pseudomaturity, tendency to control external and internal environment and the unconscious efforts to imitate normality to avoid conflicts.

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