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A neuropsychological evaluation of orthorexia nervosa

Author(s): Nancy S. Koven | Rina Senbonmatsu

Journal: Open Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 2161-7325

Volume: 03;
Issue: 02;
Start page: 214;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Orthorexia Nervosa | Neuropsychology | Executive Function | Anorexia Nervosa | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Orthorexia nervosa (ON) describes a fixation for proper nutrition and healthy foods that leads to die-tary restrictions and nutritional deficiencies over time. Given symptom overlap among ON, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anorexia nervosa (AN), this study examines whether ON has a unique neuropsychological profile. Participants completed symptom checklists and neuropsychological tests chosen for their sensitivity to AN and OCD. Results showed that, across the full sample, ON is independently associated with self-reported weaknesses in Set-Shifting, Emotional Control, Self-Monitoring, and Working Memory. After controlling for AN and OCD variables, high- and low-ON groups differed in total correct trials on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. These areas of executive functioning, which are explained in the context of ON symptomatology, represent what would be considered the neuropsychological overlap among OCD and AN profiles.
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