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Keywords:

  • coping;
  • eating disorders;
  • recovery

Abstract

Objective

This study examined the relation between coping skills and eating disorder recovery by comparing these skills across healthy controls, fully recovered, partially recovered, and active eating disorder cases. Full recovery was defined using physical, behavioral, and psychological components.

Method

Individuals formerly seen for an eating disorder at a Midwestern clinic were categorized as having an active eating disorder (n = 53), as partially recovered (n = 15), or as fully recovered (n = 20). The coping skills of these groups were compared to each other and to 67 healthy controls.

Results

Healthy controls and fully recovered individuals utilized similarly high levels of task- and avoidance-oriented coping and similarly low levels of emotion-oriented coping. Partially recovered individuals looked more similar to those with an active eating disorder.

Discussion

Results provide support for a comprehensive definition of eating disorder recovery, of which healthy coping may be an integral component, and for the re-evaluation of the notion of “maladaptive” coping. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010; 43:689–693