Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lance T. Peterson


Social Work


Successful treatment methods for adult sufferers of anorexia nervosa (AN) have still not been supported by research. Recently, many authors have suggested that research into shared traits involving obsessive-compulsive tendencies might contribute to improved theory based on etiology of the illness. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to bring the multitude of studies focusing on the shared underlying traits and the apparent overlap of disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and AN together in a way that truly speaks to improved treatment methods. First, findings include a potential predisposition, or common cause relationship between personality factors like perfectionism, high harm avoidance, high persistence, low novelty-seeking, and low cooperativeness to both OCPD and AN especially among individuals with the restricting subtype. In this case, a new treatment method called radically open-dialectical behavior therapy, which speaks to the common underlying factors of both OCPD and anorexia nervosa, may improve treatment. Secondly, findings show the co-occurrence rates of OCD and AN to be far ranging at 10%-60%, while still showing more co-occurrence than could be explained by chance. Family studies also support a common cause model due to the fact that obsessive-compulsive disorders are more likely to occur in relatives of eating disorder probands. In this case, when true obsessionality and compulsivity is suspected, a new treatment method using a modified obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder model will inform treatment.

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Social Work Commons