A comparative study of defense styles of bulimic, anorexic and normal females

S Tordjman, C Zittoun, P Ferrari, M Flament, P Jeammet
Israel Journal of Psychiatry and related Sciences 1997, 34 (3): 222-7
We have compared the defense styles of anorexic (N = 41), bulimic (N = 37) and normal females (N = 72) living in Paris, using the Bond Defense Style Questionnaire relating to 17 defenses: sublimation, anticipation, suppression, undoing, idealization, reaction formation, projection, passive aggression, acting out, isolation, devaluation, autistic fantasy, denial, displacement, dissociation, splitting and somatization. The objective of this study was to better understand the personality structure in terms of psychological defenses of adolescent girls and young women suffering from anorexia or bulimia nervosa (DSM-III-R). Data showed significant differences of psychological functioning between control subjects and eating disorder subjects, particularly for the projection, undoing and sublimation defenses. Anorexics differed from the bulimic females only on the passive aggression, isolation and devaluation defenses. These data are discussed in relation to the hypothesis that anorexics and bulimics can be situated on the same continuum ranging from normal to eating disorders with certain common psychological features as risk factors shared by the eating disorder females.

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