People behind unhealthy obsession to healthy food: the personality profile of tendency to orthorexia nervosa
Our aim was to measure the personality profile of people with high orthorexic tendency using an assessment method which is acknowledged in the research of the classical eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).
In our research, 739 participants completed a self-administered, online questionnaire consisting of two measures: Temperament and Character Inventory-56 (TCI-56) and Ortho-11-Hu.
The orthorexia nervosa (ON) grouping variable has a significant effect on three factors of TCI: MANOVA revealed higher harm avoidance (F (2, 736) = 19.01, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.05), lower self-directedness (F (2, 736) = 22.55, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.06), and higher transcendence (F (2, 736) = 3.05, p = 0.048, η2 = 0.01) in the higher ON group, compared to the lower ON group, regardless of the effect of the risk groups.
According to earlier studies, high harm avoidance and low self-directedness are relevant factors of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and OCD, but now it also seems to be an important parameter of orthorexia. Nevertheless, higher transcendence may be a unique feature, which suggests that orthorexia seems to be an independent phenomenon.
Level of evidence
V, descriptive cross-sectional study.
KeywordsOrthorexia nervosa Personality Eating disorders Temperament
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- 1.Bratman S (1997) Revista Medico-Chiruricala A Societatii de Medici Si Naturalisti Din Iasi. Yoga J 136:42–46Google Scholar
- 3.Donini LM, Marsili D, Graziani MP et al (2005) Orthorexia nervosa: Validation of a diagnosis questionnaire. Eat Weight Disord 10:28–32Google Scholar
- 16.Arhire LI (2015) Orthorexia nervosa: the unhealthy obsession for healthy food. Rev Medico-Chiruricala Soc Medici Si Nat Din Iasi 119:632–638Google Scholar
- 21.Arusoglu G, Kabakçi E, Köksal G, Kutluay Merdol T (2008) Orthorexia Nervosa and Adaptation of ORTO-11 into Turkish. Turk J Psychiatry 19:1–9Google Scholar
- 22.Gleaves DH, Graham EC, Ambwani S (2013) Measuring “Orthorexia”. Development of the Eating Habits Questionnaire. Int J Educ Psychol Assess 1–18Google Scholar
- 23.Svrakic DM, Draganic S, Hill K et al (2002) Temperament, character, and personality disorders: etiologic, diagnostic, treatment issues. Acta Psychiatr Scand 106:189–195Google Scholar
- 25.Amianto F, Abbate-Daga G, Morando S et al (2011) Personality development characteristics of women with anorexia nervosa, their healthy siblings and healthy controls: what prevents and what relates to psychopathology? Psychiatry Res 187:401–408. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2010.10.028 Google Scholar
- 30.Brytek-Matera A (2012) Orthorexia nervosa-an eating disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder or disturbed eating habit? Arch Psychiatry Psychother 1:55–60Google Scholar
- 35.Cloninger CR (1987) A systematic method for clinical description and classification of personality variants. A proposal. Arch Gen Psychiatry 44:573–588. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800180093014 Google Scholar
- 36.Cloninger CR (1993) A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Arch Gen Psychiatry 50:975. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820240059008 Google Scholar
- 37.Rózsa S, Kállai J, Osváth A, Bánki MC (2005) Temperamentum és karakter: Cloninger pszichobiológiai modellje. Medicina, BudapestGoogle Scholar
- 42.Oberle CD, Samaghabadi RO, Hughes EM (2017) Orthorexia nervosa: assessment and correlates with gender, BMI, and personality. Appetite 108:303–310Google Scholar
- 45.Dell’Osso L, Abelli M, Carpita B et al (2016) Historical evolution of the concept of anorexia nervosa and relationships with orthorexia nervosa, autism and obsessive–compulsive spectrum. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 12:1651–1660Google Scholar
- 46.Fairburn C, Harrison P (2003) Eating disorders. Lancet 361:407–416Google Scholar