Myers Briggs Personality Types & Eating Disorders
Personality refers to a collection of traits that form a person’s character, and influences the way they think, feel and behave. Research has investigated whether there is a relationship between personality and eating disorders. It may be helpful to understand this relationship in more depth, as it may help therapists formulate more effective treatment plans.
what is the myers briggs personality type indicator?
WHAT IS THE MYERS BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE INDICATOR?
The Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator measures a person’s psychological traits. There are four categories:
- Introversion vs Extraversion
- Sensing vs Intuition
- Judging vs Perceiving
- Thinking vs Feeling
There are 16 different four-letter combinations, such as ‘INFJ’ or ‘ESTP’. These personality types can give an indication about people’s preferences and they interact with the world around them.
are personality types linked to eating disorders?
Studies have found conflicting evidence for links between personality types and eating disorders.
Some research has shown that Myers Briggs personality traits are not linked to eating behaviours. For example, Anderson (2004) measured traits of 221 college students, and did not find any significant relationships between the personality types and Bulimia Nervosa behaviours.
However, other studies have found a significant association between certain traits within the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory. Haug (2017) investigated the personality types of 51 participants with a current or past history of an eating disorder. She found a significant relationship between the Judging vs Perceiving personality trait and Anorexia Nervosa.
The Judging vs Perceiving dimension describes how people prefer to interact with their environment and how they like to be perceived by others. Individuals within the Perceiving dimension tend to enjoy exploring different options, preferring flexibility over planning. They avoid routine and tend to behave spontaneously.
On the other hand, the Judging dimension refers to preferences towards routine and structure. People in this dimension enjoy having organised plans, enjoy creating and working from to-do lists, and prefer a consistent schedule rather than flexible plans.
It is possible that the Judging dimension is associated with disordered eating behaviour due to a common link: control.
People within the Judging dimension prefer to maintain control over their surroundings and environment, and tend to feel frustrated and distressed when they feel out of control. Some people may develop an eating disorder in an attempt to regain control or if they feel like a failure in other aspects of their lives.
It is therefore likely that people in the Judging dimension are more likely to seek ways to regain control in their lives, and may turn to controlling their eating behaviours to give them a sense of false peace.
Another factor that may link the Judging dimension with eating disorders is perfectionism. People with this personality type may become distressed if they are unable to complete set tasks. Some people may view their competence and efficiency and indicators of their self-worth. Perceived failures may then have negative consequences for their self-view.
Research has consistently linked perfectionism with eating disorders. Individuals with perfectionist tendencies may hold unrealistically high standards of themselves and their body image. It is possible that this increased likelihood of having perfectionist tendencies may contribute to the development and maintenance of disordered eating behaviour.
treatment for eating disorders at weightmatters
At The WeightMatters Practice, we provide psychological and nutritional support to help clients overcome their eating disorder and reach their full potential. By combining psychological treatment with nutrition education, and tailored caring dietetic support, we can help you establish a safe weight and change of habits.
Our psychotherapists will work with the underlying psychological factors that precipitated your eating disorder, including low self-worth, critical inner voice, weight conflict and challenging relationships.
We will then help you build essential skills, such as assertiveness, emotional agility, self-compassion, confidence and resilience. These can help you cope with future challenges and maintain your wellbeing.
Our dietitians will create a bespoke diet plan, based on your health history and current symptoms, to help you manage a healthy weight and improve levels of essential nutrients, helping you feel energised and healthy.
Our psychological-nutritional package, Rebalance, can help you combat your chaotic eating behaviours and obsessive thoughts about your weight, food and your body.
To book a FREE 30 MINUTE SESSION with a therapist, a 15-minute nutrition call with our experienced nutrition team, or to find out more about our Rebalance programme, book a free assessment call with one our Client Support team, who can listen to your story and explain how our services can support you.
Anorexia Nervosa Treatment
Learn more about Anorexia Nervosa
Here are some articles and blogs about anorexia nervosa