Eating personality

By Вen Li

Who you are may affect how you eat. A new study to be conducted at the University of Calgary may establish links between binge eating disorder and personality traits.

Binge eating–frequently consuming excessive amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating–is one of several eating disorders that may affect up to 10 per cent of university populations, according to Department of Psychology Assistant Professor and researcher Dr. Kristin von Ranson.

"Because binge eating disorder is a newly described phenomenon, there isn’t much research in the area," said von Ranson. "There’s been very little published work on binge eating disorder with respect to personality."

von Ranson hopes to find links between personality and eating habits that may help identify individuals who may develop eating disorders. She plans to compare personality traits of individuals with and without eating disorders.

"There’s this idea that eating disorders are like addictions," she said. "In both, there may be something in personalities that may help us understand the conditions."

The four-to-six-month study is expected to produce results within a year and requires about 150 participants including men and women over 18 who currently binge eat, those with bulimia, and individuals who are comfortable with their body image and eating patterns.

"The best thing we can offer participants is a way of seeing how research psychology is done," said von Ranson. "We will be providing feedback about the participants’ personality profiles."


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