, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1511-1521

Quality of life and eating disorders

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Abstract

Objective: Eating disorders (EDs) can have a serious impact on various life domains and may lead to physical, mental and social impairment and consequently to poor quality of life (QOL). This study compared the QOL of ED patients and former ED patients in a large community based sample to the QOL of a normal reference group and to the QOL of patients with mood disorders. Differences between ED diagnostic groups were examined. The study investigated what factors contribute to QOL.

Methods: A generic health-related quality of life questionnaire, the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire were administered to 156 ED patients – 44 anorexia nervosa patients, 43 bulimia nervosa patients, 69 eating disorder not otherwise specified patients – and 148 former ED patients.

Results: ED patients reported significantly poorer QOL than a normal reference group. No differences were found between the diagnostic groups. Former ED patients still had poorer QOL than a normal reference group. ED patients reported significantly poorer QOL than patients with mood disorders. Self esteem contributed most to QOL.

Conclusion: EDs have a severe impact on many domains of QOL. Therefore QOL needs to be addressed in effectiveness research and clinical practice.