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Prognosis of adolescent partial syndromes of eating disorder

  • George C. Patton (a1), Carolyn Coffey (a1), John B. Carlin (a2), Lena Sanci (a3) and Susan Sawyer (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Partial syndromes of eating disorder are common in adolescents but the health significance of these syndromes remains uncertain.

Aims

To document the health and social adjustment in young adulthood of females assessed as having a partial syndrome of eating disorder in adolescence.

Method

A community sample of 1943 participants was tracked over 10 years in an eight-wave cohort study. A partial syndrome was defined as the fulfilment of at least two DSM-IV criteria for either anorexia or bulimia nervosa at one assessment or more between the ages of 15 years and 17 years.

Results

Partial syndromes were found in 9.4% of 15- to 17-year-old female participants and 1.4% of males. There were few instances of progression of partial syndromes to fully fledged anorexia and bulimia nervosa. However, among those with partial syndromes depressive and anxiety symptoms were two to three times higher in young adulthood, substance misuse was common, and a majority of those with a partial syndrome of anorexia nervosa were still underweight in their mid-20s.

Conclusions

Given the level of subsequent psychopathology and social role impairment, there may be justification for initiating trials of preventive and early clinical intervention strategies for adolescent partial syndromes.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor George C. Patton, William Buckland House, 2 Gatehouse Street, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. Email: george.patton@rch.org.au
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Prognosis of adolescent partial syndromes of eating disorder

  • George C. Patton (a1), Carolyn Coffey (a1), John B. Carlin (a2), Lena Sanci (a3) and Susan Sawyer (a4)...
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