Psychopathological and personality traits underlie decision making in recent onset medication naïve anorexia nervosa: A pilot study

Livia Fornasari, Giorgia Gregoraci, Miriam Isola, Gioia Anna Laura Negri, Gianluca Rambaldelli, Silvana Cremaschi, Laura Faleschini, Francesca Canalaz, Laura Perini, Matteo Balestrieri, Franco Fabbro, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) analyzes the ability of participants to sacrifice immediate rewards in view of a long term gain. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) in addition to weight loss and body image disturbances is also characterized by the tendency to make decisions that may result in long-term negative outcomes. Studies that analyzed IGT performance in patients with AN were not consistent with each other. Fifteen adolescents with AN and 15 matched controls carried out IGT after being clinically and neuropsychologically evaluated. An interesting generalized estimating equation approach showed that four independent clinical variables, and not the group, explained IGT performances, such as blocks repetition, anxiety, psychogenic eating disorders and self transcendence. The impairment of decision making is not related to the diagnosis of AN, but it is driven by high levels of anxiety and self transcendence. Instead, some psychogenic eating disorders traits, related to illness severity, positively affected IGT performance in the whole sample. IGT impairment in AN found by prior studies could be related to these clinical features which are not always taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 30 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Executive functions
  • Neuropsychology
  • Self-transcendence
  • Thought problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Medicine(all)


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