Eating Pathology Among Patients With Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa: The Role of Narcissism and Self-Esteem

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Abstract

We sought to deepen our understanding of the relationship between pathological narcissism and eating disorders (ED) by examining specific facets that composed grandiose and vulnerable narcissism while taking into account self-esteem, a well-known and consistent risk factor for ED. Twenty-seven women diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 23 women diagnosed with bulimia nervosa (BN) completed standardized measures of pathological narcissism, self-esteem, and dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviors. Different patterns of associations between the facets of pathological narcissism and eating pathology arose between AN and BN diagnoses. Closer examination of the facets of pathological narcissism revealed that hiding the self, a vulnerable narcissistic facet, contributed significantly to dysfunctional eating attitudes and behaviors over and above self-esteem for women with AN. Hiding the self should continue to be explored in regard to treatment of ED.

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