Quality of Life Research

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1511–1521 | Cite as

Quality of life and eating disorders

  • S. M. de la Rie
  • G. Noordenbos
  • E. F. van Furth


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.


Eating disorders Patient outcomes Quality of life 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Maj, M, Halmi, K, López-Ibor, JJ, Sartorius, N. 2003Eating DisordersWileyChichesterGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Treasure, JSchmidt, UFurth, EF eds. 2003Handbook on Eating DisordersWileyChichesterGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Steinhausen, HC. 2002The outcome of anorexia nervosa in the twentieth centuryAm J Psychiatry15912841293CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Steinhausen, HCVerhulst, FC eds. 1999Risk and Outcomes in Developmental PsychopathologyOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Padierna, A, Quintana, JM, Arostegui, I, Gonzalez, N, Horcajo, MJ. 2000The health related quality of life in eating disordersQual Life Res9667674CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Padierna, A, Quintana, JM, Arostegui, I, Gonzalez, N, Horcajo, MJ. 2002Changes in health related quality of life among patients treated for eating disordersQual Life Res11542552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hay, P. 2003Quality of life and bulimic eating disorder behaviors: Findings from a community based sampleInt J Eating Dis.33434442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keilen, M, Treasure J Schmidt, U. 1994Quality of life measurements in eating disorders, angina and transplant candidates: Are they comparable?J R Soc Med87441444PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Danzl, C, Kemmler, G, Gottwald, E, Mangweth, B, Kinzl, J, Biebl, W. 2001Lebensqualitat essgestorter PatientinnenEine Katamneseerhebung. Psych Praxis281823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bijl, RV, Ravelli, A. 2000Current and residual functional disability associated with psychopathology: Findings from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS)Psychol Med30657668CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Katschnig, H, Freeman, H, Sartorius, N. 1997Quality of Life in Mental DisordersWileyChichesterGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fairburn, CG, Cooper, Z, Shafran, R. 2002Cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders: A ‘transdiagnostic’ theory and treatmentBehav Res Therapy41509529Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fairburn CG, Wilson GT. Binge Eating: Nature, Assessment and Treatment. New York, 1993.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mond, JM, Hay, PJ, Rodgers, B, Owen, C, Beumont, PJ. 2004Validity of the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) in screening for eating disorders in community samplesBehav Res Therapy42551567Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ware, JEJ, Snow, KK, Kosinski, MA, Gandek, B. 1993SF-36 Health Survey, Manual and Interpretation GuideThe Health Institute, New England Medical CenterBoston, MAGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ware, JE, Kosinkski, M, Keller, SD. 1994SF-36 Physical and Mental Health Summary Scales: A User’s ManualThe Health Institute, New England Medical CenterBoston, MAGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rosenberg, M. 1989Society and the Adolescent Self-ImageWesleyan University PressMiddletown, CTRevised edGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rosenberg, M. 1986Conceiving the SelfKriegerMalabar, FLGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Blascovich, J, Joseph, T. 1993Measures of Self-esteemRobinson, JPShaver, PRWrightsman, LS eds. Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes.Institute for Social ResearchAnn Arbor, MI115160Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Aaronson, NK, Muller, M, Cohen, PDA, Essink-Bot, ML, Fekkes, M, Sanderman, R, Sprangers, MAG, Velde A, te, Verrips, E. 1998Translation, validation and norming of the Dutch language version of the SF-36 health survey in community and chronic disease populationsJ Clin Epidemiol5110551068PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Horton, RL. 1978The General Linear Model. Data Analysis in the Social and Behavioural SciencesMcGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Essink-Bot, ML. 1995Health Status as a Measure of Outcome of Disease and TreatmentErasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsHumanitasGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Carr, AJ, Gibson, B, Robinson, PG. 2001Is quality of life determined by expectations or experience?Br Med J32212401243Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Carr, AJ, Higginson, IJ. 2001Are quality of life measures patient centred?Br Med J32213571360Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Muldoon, MF, Barger, SD, Manuck, SB. 1998What are quality of life measurements measuring?Br Med J316542545Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Korr, WS, Ford, GC. 2003Measuring quality of life in the mentally illQual Life Res121723PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    van Nieuwenhuizen, CH 2001Quality of Life of Persons with Severe Mental Illness: An InstrumentThesis PublishersAmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Orley, J, Saxena, S, Herrman, H. 1998Quality of life and mental illness. Reflections from the perspective of the WHOQOLBr J Psychiatry172291293PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Harper, A, Power, M. 1998Development of the World Health Organization WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessmentPsychol Med28551558PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Fairburn, CG, Harrison, PJ. 2003Eating DisordersLancet361407416PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Higginson, IJ, Carr, AJ. 2001Using quality of life measures in the clinical settingBr Med J32212971300Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. de la Rie
    • 1
  • G. Noordenbos
    • 2
  • E. F. van Furth
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Eating DisordersLeidschendamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Health PsychologyUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations