European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 165–174 | Cite as

A clinical and phenomenological study of 185 Spanish adolescents with anorexia nervosa

  • J. Toro
  • R. Nicolau
  • M. Cervera
  • J. Castro
  • M. J. Blecua
  • M. Zaragoza
  • A. Toro
Article

Abstract

The objectives of the present study were the following: to determine the socio-familial, academic and interpersonal characteristics specific to anorexia nervosa (AN); to study comorbidity in patients with anorexia and morbidity in their parents; and to ascertain whether patients with anorexia nervosa in Spain are similar to those in other countries. The research team revised the clinical records of 185 Spanish adolescents with AN (aged 11–18 years). The results were compared with those obtained from a group of 185 psychiatric patients without AN matched by sex, age, time of consultation and centre. No significant differences were found with regard to broken home, birth order or parent-patient conflict. The parents of patients with anorexia have a higher standard of education and develop more affective disorders. When compared with other patients, the individuals with anorexia nervosa perform much better academically but are more socially withdrawn. Males with anorexia nervosa perform worse academically than females and have more anxiety diagnoses. Patients with anorexia have a high comorbidity for affective and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Sufferers from anorexia nervosa in Spain are clinically analogous to patients with anorexia in other countries. The two characteristics specific to these patients are a high standard of academic performance and an intense degree of social withdrawal, although there are certain factors common to other pathologies relating to adolescence.

Keywords

Anorexia Nervosa Adolescence Comorbidity Academic Achievement Social Relationships 

Résumé

Les objectifs de cette étude étaient: de déterminer le caractéristiques socio-familiales, scolaires et interpersonnelles spécifiques à l'anorexie mentale; d'étudier la comorbidité des patients anorexiques et la morbidité de leurs parents; et de vérifier si les patients anorexiques espagnols ressemblent à ceux des autres pays. L'équipe de recherche a réexaminé les histoires cliniques de 185 adolescents espagnols anorexiques (âgées de 11 à 18 ans). Les résultats obtenus ont été comparés avec ceux d'une groupe des 185 patients psychiatriques sans anorexie mentale appariés selon le sexe, l'âge, da durée de la consultation et le service. Aucune différence significatives n'ont été trouvées concernant les ruptures familiales, l'ordre de naissance ou les conflits entre parents et patients. Les parents des patients anorexiques ont un niveau d'éducation plus élevé et développent plus souvent des troubles affectifs. Par rapport aux autres patients, les patients anorexiques ont des performances scolaires plus élevées mais sont plus inhibés socialement. Les gar¢ons avec une anorexie mental ont un moindre niveau scolaire que les filles et ont plus souvent un diagnostic d'anxiété. Les patients anorexiques ont une comorbidité plus importante concernant les troubles affectifs et obsessionnels compulsifs. Les patients anorexiques espagnols ressemblent cliniquement à ceux des autres pays. Les deux caractéristiques propres à ces patients sont un niveau élevé de performance scolaire et un degré intense d'inhibition sociale bien qu'ils présentent également certains facteurs communs aux autres pathologies de l'adolescence.

Zusammenfassung

Die Ziele der vorliegenden Studie bestanden darin, die sozio-familiären, bildungsmäßigen und interpersonellen Charakteristika zu bestimmen, die für Patienten mit Anorexia nervosa spezifisch sind. Außerdem wurde die Komorbidität der Patienten ebenso wie die Morbidität der Eltern untersucht. Es sollte geklärt werden, ob die spanischen Patienten mit Anorexia nervosa mit Patienten aus anderen Ländern vergleichbar sind. Die Forschungsgruppe untersuchte die Krankengeschichte von 185 spanischen Jugendlichen mit AN im Alter von 11 bis 18 Jahren. Die Ergebnisse wurden mit einer psychiatrischen Kontrollgruppe verglichen, die im Hinblick auf Geschlecht, Alter, Vorstellungszeitpunkt und -Zentrum parallelisiert war. Es fanden sich keine signifikanten Unterschiede im Hinblick auf den Anteil zerrütteter Familien, Geburtsrang oder Konflikte zwischen Eltern und den Patienten. Die Eltern von Patienten mit Anorexia hatten eine höherwertige Ausbildung; sie zeigten häufiger affektive Störungen. Im Vergleich zu anderen Patienten schneiden die Anorexia nervosa-Patienten in bezug auf Schulerfolge besser ab, sie sind jedoch in sozialer Hinsicht zurückgezogener. Männliche Jugendliche mit Anorexia nervosa wiesen schlechtere Schulleistungen auf als die weiblichen und litten häufiger unter Angststörungen. Patienten mit Anorexia nervosa weisen eine hohe Komorbidität mit affektiven Störungen und Zwangsstörungen auf. Insgesamt ähnelt die Symptomatik der Patienten aus Spanien der anderer Länder. Die beiden Charakteristika, die für diese Patienten spezifisch sind, sind der hohe schulische Leistungsstandard und der ausgeprägte soziale Rückzug, obwohl es bestimmte Faktoren gibt, die sich auch bei anderen psychiatrischen Störungen im Jugendalter häufiger finden.

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Copyright information

© Hogrefe & Huber Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Toro
    • 1
  • R. Nicolau
    • 1
  • M. Cervera
    • 2
  • J. Castro
    • 1
  • M. J. Blecua
    • 2
  • M. Zaragoza
    • 1
  • A. Toro
    • 1
  1. 1.Secció de Psiquiatría Infantil i Juvenil, Hospital ClínicUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.GaltonBarcelonaSpain

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