Predictors of long-term recovery in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: Data from a 22-year longitudinal study.
About this resource
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate predictors of long-term recovery from eating disorders 22 years after entry into a longitudinal study. METHOD: One hundred and seventy-six of the 228 surviving participants (77.2%) were re-interviewed 20-25 years after study entry using the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation to assess ED recovery. The sample consisted of 100 women diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 76 with bulimia nervosa (BN) at study entry. RESULTS: A comorbid diagnosis of major depression at the start of the study strongly predicted having a diagnosis of AN-Restricting type at the 22-year assessment. A higher body mass index (BMI) at study intake decreased the odds of being diagnosed with AN-Binge Purge type, relative to being recovered, 22 years later. The only predictor that increased the likelihood of having a diagnosis of BN at the 22-year assessment was the length of time during the study when the diagnostic criteria for BN were met. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results indicate that the presence and persistence of binge eating and purging behaviors were poor prognostic indicators and that comorbidity with depression is particularly pernicious in AN. Treatment providers might pay particular attention to these issues in an effort to positively influence recovery over the long-term.
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