Emotional functioning in anorexia nervosa patients: Adolescents compared to adults

Marjo J.S. Zonnevylle-Bender, Stephanie H.M. Van Goozen, Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis, Annemarie Van Elburg, Martin De Wildt, Elis Stevelmans, Herman Van Engeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Studies concerning eating disorder patients have revealed the presence of alexithymia, depressive, and anxiety disorders. We compared these aspects of emotional functioning in two groups of anorexia nervosa (AN) patients: adolescents vs. adults. Forty-eight adolescent anorexia nervosa patients (ADO) and 23 adult anorexia nervosa patients (ADU) completed a battery of tasks and questionnaires to measure these different aspects of emotional functioning and to control for differences of a more general cognitive nature. Both groups showed marked resemblance; both had high alexithymia scores and performed worse on emotional tasks measuring aspects of alexithymia. Furthermore, both groups showed high percentages of depressive and anxiety disorders, with the ADU group scoring only higher on specific and social phobia than the ADO group. Adult and adolescent AN patient groups do not differ substantially with respect to emotional functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalDepression and anxiety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2004


  • Alexithymia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional functioning

Cite this