An eight-year follow-up: Outcome from adolescent compared to adult onset anorexia nervosa
- Cite this article as:
- Casper, R.C. & Jabine, L.N. J Youth Adolescence (1996) 25: 499. doi:10.1007/BF01537545
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Seventy-five women were traced and reassessed on average eight years after the onset of anorexia nervosa. All patients received treatment and 88% were hospitalized at least once. Comparisons between early (11–15 years; N=35), late (16–18 years; N=24) adolescent and adult (19–27 years; N=14) onset revealed no significant differences in outcome for age at onset. For 70% of adolescent and 42% of adult onset patients the outcome was good, meaning that the weight was within ± 15% of norm with regular cyclical menstruation,17% and 21% had an intermediate, and 9% and 21%, respectively, had a poor outcome, 5.3% had died. Taken together, 59% had physically recovered and were free of any eating disorder. Severity of illness reflected in a low body mass index, excessive exercise, and poor psychosocial functioning at intake were poor prognostic indicators;length of illness and food restriction or bulimia as eating patterns were unrelated to outcome. The observation that all women with chronic anorexia nervosa, and even a third of those who had physically recovered from anorexia nervosa, qualified for one or more psychiatric diagnoses suggests that the psychosocial correlates of anorexia nervosa require further study.