Patients who report dysphagia, but have no detectable physical defect, have often been diagnosed as having an eating disorder. This diagnosis was evaluated by administering the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and a measure of distress, the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90R), to a sample of 21 adult psychogenic dysphagia patients (PDPs). Their EDI-2 responses were then compared with samples of anorexics, college men, and college women, and their SCL-90R responses were compared with published data of patients with dysphagia due to a motility disorder, an obstruction, or neither. Relative to the anorexics, the PDPs scored significantly lower on all EDI-2 dimensions except maturity fears. For the SCL-90R, PDPs scored significantly higher on the interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, and general severity index than did the dysphagia comparison groups. Moreover, PDP scores on the anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity dimensions were indicative of clinically significant distress. These findings suggest that PDPs do not appear to have an eating disorder, but that they report clinically significant levels of psychological distress, particularly anxiety.
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