The comorbidity of personality disorders in eating disorders: a meta-analysis

  • Monica MartinussenEmail author
  • Oddgeir Friborg
  • Phöbe Schmierer
  • Sabine Kaiser
  • Karl Tore Øvergård
  • Anna-Lena Neunhoeffer
  • Egil W. Martinsen
  • Jan H. Rosenvinge



The present meta-analysis summarized the proportion of comorbid personality disorders (PDs) in patients with anorexia (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), respectively, and examined possible moderating variables.


A search of the databases PsychINFO, Embase, and Medline for the period 1980–2016 identified 87 studies from 18 different countries.


The mean proportion of PDs among patients with any type of eating disorder (ED) was .52 compared to .09 in healthy controls. There were no statistically significant differences between AN (.49) and BN (.54) in proportions of any PD or PD clusters except for obsessive-compulsive PD (.23 vs .12 in AN and BN, respectively).


Both ED diagnoses had a similar comorbidity profile with a high prevalence of borderline and avoidant PDs. Moderator analyses conducted for any ED and any PD yielded significant differences for diagnostic systems with respect to EDs, method for assessing PD as well as patient weight and age.


Personality disorders Anorexia nervosa Bulimia nervosa Meta-analysis Comorbidity 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by the Department of Psychology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Since this is a meta-analysis, informed consent statement was not obtained. No primary data were collected from participants.

Supplementary material

40519_2016_345_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 35 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica Martinussen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oddgeir Friborg
    • 2
    • 3
  • Phöbe Schmierer
    • 4
  • Sabine Kaiser
    • 1
  • Karl Tore Øvergård
    • 2
  • Anna-Lena Neunhoeffer
    • 2
  • Egil W. Martinsen
    • 5
  • Jan H. Rosenvinge
    • 2
  1. 1.Regional Center for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare (RKBU-Nord)UiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatric ResearchUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  4. 4.Central Institute of Mental HealthUniversity of HeidelbergMannheimGermany
  5. 5.Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Department of Clinical Medicine, Oslo University HospitalUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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