The cognitive-orientation theory of anorexia nervosa

Shulamith Kreitler*, Eytan Bachar, Laura Canetti, Elliot Berry, Omer Bonne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The major goal at our work was to explore the cognitive-motivational dynamics of anorexia in terms of the cognitive-orientation (CO) theory (Kreitler & Kreitler, 1982). CO is a comprehensive theory of behavior that assumes that behavior is a function of a cognitively shaped motivational disposition and performance. The study dealt with the motivational disposition for anorexia. It focused on examining whether beliefs of four types (about self, goals, norms, and reality) concerning themes relevant for anorexia (defined in pretests) identify correctly anorectics. All participants were women 15 to 18 years old: 58 anorectics (35 restricting, 23 binge eating/ purging) and 59 matched healthy controls. All were administered a background-information questionnaire and the CO-Anorexia questionnaire assessing beliefs about 30 themes. The results showed that the themes formed 5 clusters defined by foci, such as dissociation from reality, the body, drives or emotionality, and identified significantly the anorectics of each type and the healthy controls. A brief CO questionnaire was developed. Discussion centered on the similarity of the identified themes to some of those discussed by others, on the pathogeneity of the CO of anorexia, and on outlining a blueprint of a theory of anorexia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)651-671
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Binge eating/purging type
  • Cognitive orientation
  • Eating disorders
  • Restricting type


Dive into the research topics of 'The cognitive-orientation theory of anorexia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this