Emotional intelligence, empathy and alexithymia in anorexia nervosa during adolescence

  • Victoire PeresEmail author
  • Maurice Corcos
  • Marion Robin
  • Alexandra Pham-Scottez
Original Article



Socio-emotional difficulties have been observed on adult patients suffering from anorexia nervosa (AN). But researches with adolescents are scarce and non-congruent. The aim of this paper is to identify the socio-emotional difficulties that are encountered by AN during adolescence, and to isolate them from those encountered by control adolescents.


41 AN and 38 control adolescents were assessed using the emotional quotient inventory by Bar-On, youth version (EQ-i: YV), the Toronto Alexithymia Questionnaire (TAS-20), the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), and anxiety and depression were controlled using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).


Personal distress remains the main difference between the two groups, even when depression and anxiety are controlled. Intrapersonal difficulties are observed in the AN group, as well as alexithymic traits.


Research on AN has to focus on the socio-emotional difficulties during adolescence, to properly identify which difficulties are linked to that life period, and which are a trait of AN.

Level III

Evidence obtained from well-designed cohort or case–control analytic studies, preferably from more than one center or research group.


Anorexia nervosa Emotional intelligence Empathy Alexithymia Adolescence EQ-i 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMM Département de Psychiatrie de l’Adolescent et du jeune adulteParisFrance
  2. 2.Université Descartes ParisParisFrance
  3. 3.Inserm U1018, Université Paris SudParisFrance

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