Ghandour, Bilal Mounir, Deborah Missud, & Abigail Knowles (2019). Current and goal self in anorexia nervosa. North American Journal of Psychology, 21(3), 675-692.

Abstract: This study examines how women with past or present anorexia value perfectionism according to their current or goal view of self. Using Q sort methodology, thirteen women rank-ordered statements twice that were reflective of various aspects of perfectionism. Two distinctive factors emerged that were significantly split along present or future perspectives of self. Factor A, The Perfectionist, was singly centered on women who sorted statements according to their current view of self, thus indicating no women with past or present history of anorexia aims at maintaining perfectionism in the future. In Factor B, The Flexible and Fallible, all participants loaded on this factor. Their statements were sorted according to a goal view of self, indicating wanting a future void of perfectionist traits. More specifically, results indicate some aspects of perfectionism are more desirable for change than others, such as the ruminative, fearful of mistakes, and obsessive elements of perfectionism. Conversely, constructs such as routine, predictability, and planning were valued as long term aspects of perfectionism. These findings have important implications for treating this eating disorder. Specifically, it allows for a more targeted therapeutic approach to changing perfectionist traits with women who have anorexia, while remaining aware of aspects more resistant to change.

Bilal Mounir Ghandour <bghandour@elon.edu> is in the Department of Psychology, Elon University, Elon, NC (USA).

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