Myers-Briggs personality types, anorexia and body dysmorphia
Medical reports and studies show conflicting results when comparing personality types from Myers-Briggs and tendency to eating disorders and body dysmorphia, however personality tests can help understand the values and preferences of an individual suffering from eating disorder.
A personality type cannot be used as a predictor for future behaviour. Eating disorders are behaviours that can be modified. Although studies did not show any important statistical correlation between –N, T–F, and J–P scales and eating behavior. Counselling is still one of the best forms of treatment for eating disorders and body dysmorphia and it does not involve drastic changes in personality traits. Behaviours can be changed through coaching.
A 2010 study compiled in the book The association between Myers-Briggs personality type and eating disorders by Sarah A. Williams, looking at 55 patients in eating disorders clinics in New York using the Myers-Briggs test found the following: INFJ (18.5%), INTJ (10.63%), and ENFJ (6.59%) were the most common personality types among the patients.
Another book, The Thin Woman: Feminism, Post-structuralism and the Social Psychology of Anorexia Nervosa by Helen Malson, looks at psychoanalysis and Myers-Briggs to evaluate how eating disorders develop in women. Author Christine Towne Drucker in Once Upon a Type: Mythological Dimensions of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator suggests that INFJ types in Myers-Briggs have perfectionist tendencies that would agree with anorexia and bulimia behaviours. Towne refers to Jung's Psychology of Individuation as a useful tool to understand people's life choices.
Here at Weightmatters we provide confidential advice for anorexia, bulimia, disordered eating and body dysmorphia: you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Words by Paola Bassanese