Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Tim Spurill

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

John Berecz

Abstract

Problem. Early intervention is crucial for effective treatment of eating disorders. While there have recently been many assessment tools developed specifically for eating disorders, a screening tool is still needed. This study sought to identify, in an eating-disordered sample, the existence of a v-shaped pattern on scales 4-5-6 of the MMPI, a commonly used general measure of psychopathology.

Method. The sample consisted of 356 females who were being treated for eating disorders through the HOPE program between 1989 and 1996. Past research on the MMPI has produced equivocal results on identifying significant patterns on the clinical scales. Since prior research did not control for the effects of comorbidity, this study considered additional diagnoses in the analysis of the data.

Results. The results of this research supported the existence of an eating-disorder pattern for anorectic and bulimic subjects that departed significantly from that of a normal population. The v-shaped pattern was tested at four different levels of magnitude. Statistical analysis confirmed that the v-shaped pattern, defined in several different ways, occurred significantly more than would be expected by chance. Additionally, the presence of comorbidity appeared to have little effect on the proportion of individuals showing the V-shaped profile.

Conclusions. This research supports the existence of a 4-5-6 pattern as a means of identifying individuals appropriate for more focused assessment.

Subject Area

Eating disorders, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

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