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Bers, S.A. Harpaz-Rotem, I. Besser, A. Blatt, S.J. (2013). An Empirical Exploration of the Dynamics of Anorexia Nervosa: Representations of Self, Mother, and Father. Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(2):188-209.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(2):188-209

An Empirical Exploration of the Dynamics of Anorexia Nervosa: Representations of Self, Mother, and Father

Susan A. Bers, Ph.D., Ilan Harpaz-Rotem, Ph.D., Avi Besser, Ph.D. and Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D.

Extensive clinical reports and a few empirical investigations indicate that a disrupted relationship with mother and a distorted sense of self are central to Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The present study explores these observations further using the Differentiation-Relatedness Scale (D-RS) to compare AN patients' descriptions of mother, father, and self with those of matched general psychiatric (PC) and nonclinical controls (NC). Results indicate that the AN group is distinguished from the PC group by significantly lower D-R (Differentiation-Relatedness) for mother, and significantly higher D-R for self, as well as a tendency for greater DEQ Self-Criticism (p < .05, one-tailed). Stepwise discriminant analysis indicates that an equation of D-R Self, D-R Mother, and DEQ Neediness, as well as the interaction of D-R Mother and DEQ Neediness, significantly (p < .0001) discriminates 80.5% of the total sample (66.7% of the AN, 73.3% of the PC, and 87.2%

of the NC group). These findings support and elaborate clinical reports and provide further understanding of the personality dynamics and character pathology involved in this complex and sometimes life-threatening disorder.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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