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Title: A pilot study exploring performance-based emotional intelligence in anorexia nervosa
Author: Hambrook, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 6085
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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Previous research has demonstrated that people with anorexia nervosa (AN) experience difficulties in processing emotional states and affective information. Recent explanatory and treatment models of AN and other eating disorders (EDs) hypothesise that these difficulties may contribute to the maintenance of EDs and influence outcome. However, much of the existing literature is based on self-report data, experimental tasks that have questionable ecological validity, and has often not adequately explored potentially confounding effects of IQ and current affective distress. The current study sought to build on existing research and explore emotional processing in AN using a theoretically derived, performance-based measure of emotional intelligence (El). Specifically, this study explored the abilities of people with AN to identify emotions in themselves and others, to understand emotional meaning, use emotions to facilitate thought, and manage their own and others' emotions through their behaviour. A cross-sectional design was employed. Thirty two women with AN and 32 age- and IQ-matched healthy control (HC) women were compared regarding their performance on the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), along with measures of EO symptomatology, indices of clinical severity, anxiety and depression, social functioning, and the Big Five personality dimensions. Results indicated that women with AN demonstrated El scores within the broadly average range compared to normative data, but exhibited significantly lower overall El compared to HCs in the current study. The two groups did not differ with regard to specific branches of El. El in people with AN was not related to EO symptomatology or indices of illness severity, but it was with anxiety and Agreeableness. Regression analyses indicated that both anxiety and Agreeableness significantly predicted El over and above diagnostic status. The current study suggests that people with AN may not experience particular difficulties in their abilities to reason about emotions and use emotional knowledge to guide their behaviour. Anxiety was highlighted as important in influencing El. 4
Supervisor: Tchanturia, Ketevan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available