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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


BEHAR A, Rosa; MANZO G, Rodrigo  and  CASANOVA Z, Dunny. Lack of assertiveness in patients with eating disorders. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2006, vol.134, n.3, pp.312-319. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Low self-assertion has been noted as an important feature among patients with eating disorders. Aim: To verify, in a female population, if assertiveness is related or has a predictive capacity for the development of eating disorders. Subjects and methods: An structured clinical interview, the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-40) and the Rathus Assertiveness Scale (RAS) were administered to 62 patients that fulfilled the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for eating disorders and to 120 female students without eating problems. Results: Patients with eating disorders ranked significantly higher on the EAT-40 and its factors (p <0.001) and showed a lower level of assertiveness on the RAS (p <0.001). Assertiveness measured by RAS and its factors was inversely related to EAT-40 and its items (r= -0.21). The predictive capability of the lack of self-assertion in the development of an eating disorder reached 53%, when patients with eating disorders and subjects at risk were considered together and compared to students without such disorder. Conclusions: Lack of assertiveness is a significant trait in patients with eating disorders; it may worsen its outcome and even perpetuate symptoms. Low self-assertion may be considered a predictive factor in the development of an eating disorder and must be managed from a preventive or therapeutic point of view

Keywords : Assertiveness; DSM-IV; Eating disorders.

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