Epidemiology and natural course of eating disorders in young women from adolescence to young adulthood

Author: Lewinsohn, P.M.; Striegel-Moore, R.H.; Seeley, J.R.

Description: OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiology of eating disorders (ED) in a community sample of adolescent girls; to compare the clinical characteristics of full-syndrome (FS) and partial-syndrome (PS) ED cases; and to provide information about the continuity between adolescent ED and young adult psychopathology.

METHOD: A randomly selected sample of high school girls were assessed during adolescence (n = 891) and a year later (n = 810), and a stratified subset (n = 538) was assessed during their 24th year. The assessments included the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation, level of functioning, mental health treatment utilization, history of suicide attempt, and physical symptoms.

RESULTS: The incidence of ED was less than 2.8% by age 18, and 1.3% for ages 19 through 23. Comorbidity with other psychopathology (89.5%), but especially depression, was very high. FS- and PS-ED groups differed significantly from a no-disorder comparison group on most outcome measures, and more than 70% of the adolescent FS- and PS-ED cases met criteria for an Axis I disorder in young adulthood.

CONCLUSIONS: FS- and PS-ED are associated with substantial comorbidity, treatment seeking, impaired functioning, and risk for psychopathology in young adulthood.

Subject headings: Adolescent; Adult; Anorexia Nervosa/diagnosis/epidemiology/psychology; Bulimia/diagnosis/epidemiology/psychology; Comorbidity; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Oregon/epidemiology; Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data; Psychopathology; Sampling Studies

Publication year: 2000

Journal or book title: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume: 39

Issue: 10

Pages: 1284-1292

Find the full text: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856710601062

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 94