Background: To investigate the relationship between age of onset and clinical and personality features of patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). Sampling andMethod: We assessed 250 outpatients with AN with the Temperament and Character Inventory, the Eating Disorder Inventory 2, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Body Shape Questionnaire. The patients were subdivided into 3 groups: early (n = 73), intermediate (n = 96) and late onset (n = 81), based on age of onset of symptoms. Results: The early-onset group shows higher body dissatisfaction, maturity fear, impulsivity and asceticism than the other 2 groups. This group shows a greater character fragility, as described in particular by a lower self-directedness, than the other 2 groups. Conclusions: Even several years after the onset of the disorder, early-onset subjects affected by AN seem characterized by a more disturbed personality, with a higher body dissatisfaction than late-onset subjects affected by AN and a pursuit of thinness based on an ascetic drive.

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