Open Access Research article

Temperamental factors predict long-term modifications of eating disorders after treatment

Cristina Segura-García12*, Dora Chiodo1, Flora Sinopoli2 and Pasquale De Fazio1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, Chair of Psychiatry, University Magna Graecia, Catanzaro, Italy

2 Ambulatory for Clinical Research and Treatment of Eating Disorders, University Hospital Mater Domini, Catanzaro, Italy

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:288  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-288

Published: 7 November 2013



Eating Disorders (EDs) are complex psychiatric pathologies characterized by moderate to poor response to treatment. Criteria of remission and recovery are not yet well defined. Simultaneously, personality plays a key role among the factors that determine treatment outcome. The aim of the present research is to evaluate the possibility of temperamental and character traits to predict the long-term outcome of ED.


A sample of 25 AN and 28 BN female patients were re-assessed face-to-face after a minimum 5-years-follow-up through SCID-I, EDI-2 and TCI-R. Regression Analyses were performed to ascertain the possibility of TCI-R dimensions at the first visit to predict the long-term outcome.


Clinical and psychopathological symptoms significantly decreased over the time and 23% of participants no longer received a categorical ED diagnosis after at least 5 years of follow-up. TCI-R dimensions failed to predict the absence of a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis in the long term, but Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance and Reward Dependence demonstrated to predict the clinical improvement of several EDI-2 scales.


Our results support the idea that temperamental dimensions are relevant to the long-term improvement of clinical variables of ED. Low Novelty Seeking is the strongest predictor of poor outcome.

Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Temperament; Character; Outcome