The primary goal of this study was to replicate the finding that experiences of childhood trauma have a dose-effect relationship with dropping out from psychotherapeutic treatment for bulimia nervosa. It also aimed to replicate logistic regression findings that parental break-up predicts dropping out.
The cohort consisted of 114 women consecutively presenting to an outpatient eating disorders clinic with bulimia nervosa or atypical bulimia nervosa. Data were gathered using a retrospective, case-note approach and were analysed using logistic regression (LR). A correlation technique was employed to assess the presence of a dose-effect relationship between experiences of trauma in childhood and dropping out. LR models were double cross-validated between this and an earlier cohort.
The dose-effect relationship between experiences of childhood trauma and dropping out was confirmed. Witnessing parental break-up in childhood again predicted dropping out of treatment in adulthood. Cross-validation of LR equations was unsuccessful.
These results strongly suggest that experiences of childhood trauma have a dose-effect relationship with dropping out. Parental break-up is a stable predictor of dropping out. It is possible that these experiences influence attachment style, particularly the ability to make and maintain a trusting relationship with a psychotherapist. Clinical implications are discussed. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 30: 138–148, 2001.