Pretreatment unresolved-disorganized attachment status in eating disorder patients associated with stronger reduction of comorbid symptoms after psychotherapy

G.S. Kuijpers*, M.H.J. Bekker, M.M.E. Riem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Research shows that the Unresolved-disorganized attachment representation (U), resulting from experiences of loss or abuse, is associated with a range of psychiatric conditions. However, clinical implications of U are yet unclear.

Objective:
To investigate how U is related to symptoms and recovery of eating disorder (ED) patients.

Method:
First, 38 ED patients starting psychotherapeutic treatment were compared to 20 controls without ED on the prevalence of U, assessed with the Adult Attachment Interview. Second, in the patient group relations between U and ED symptoms, depression, anxiety and subjective experience of symptoms were investigated. Third, we compared, 1 year afterwards, recovery of patients with and without U.

Results:
The prevalence of U was higher in ED patients than in controls. Symptom severity was not related to U. ED patients with U at the start of treatment improved significantly more regarding anxiety, depression and subjective experience of symptoms than did patients without U.

Discussion:
The differential recovery of ED patients with or without U confirms the trauma-related heterogeneity of patients found in other diagnostic groups and calls for further investigation into the treatment needs of patients with different attachment representations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEating Disorders
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • ADULT ATTACHMENT
  • ANOREXIA-NERVOSA
  • CHILDHOOD MALTREATMENT
  • DEPRESSION
  • INSECURITY
  • INTERVIEW
  • MENTALIZATION
  • PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
  • STABILITY
  • TRAUMA

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