Duration of illness predicts outcome for bulimia nervosa: A long-term follow-up study
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2000
Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 428–434, May 2000
How to Cite
Reas, D. L., Williamson, D. A., Martin, C. K. and Zucker, N. L. (2000), Duration of illness predicts outcome for bulimia nervosa: A long-term follow-up study. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 27: 428–434. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(200005)27:4<428::AID-EAT7>3.0.CO;2-Y
- Issue published online: 30 MAR 2000
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2000
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 JUN 1999
- long-term outcome;
- early intervention
The purpose of this study was to investigate long-term outcome and prognosis in a bulimic and subthreshold bulimic sample.
In a follow-up study, 44 patients diagnosed with bulimia nervosa and subthreshold bulimia nervosa were contacted after an average follow-up period of 9 years.
Results revealed that 72.7% (n = 32) of the participants were recovered at the time of follow-up. An investigation of prognostic variables showed that good outcome was associated with a shorter duration of illness, which was defined as the time between onset of symptoms and first treatment intervention. If participants were initially treated within the first few years of the illness, the probability of recovery was above 80%. However, if they were initially treated 15 years or more after the onset of the illness, the probability of recovery fell below 20%.
This finding suggests that early identification of bulimia nervosa may be a very important factor in preventing a chronic eating disorder. © 2000 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 27: 428–434, 2000.