Eating disorders: A hidden phenomenon in outpatient mental health?
Article first published online: 17 OCT 2013
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 47, Issue 4, pages 422–425, May 2014
How to Cite
Fursland, A. and Watson, H. J. (2014), Eating disorders: A hidden phenomenon in outpatient mental health?. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 47: 422–425. doi: 10.1002/eat.22205
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 17 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 13 AUG 2013
- eating disorders;
Eating disorders are common but underdiagnosed illnesses. Help-seeking for co-occurring issues, such as anxiety and depression, are common.
To identify the prevalence of eating problems, using the SCOFF, and eating disorders when screening positive on the SCOFF (i.e., ≥2), among patients seeking help for anxiety and depression at a community-based mental health service.
Patients (N = 260) consecutively referred and assessed for anxiety and depression treatment were administered the SCOFF screening questionnaire and a semi-structured standardized diagnostic interview during routine intake.
18.5% (48/260) scored ≥2 on the SCOFF, indicating eating problems. Of these, 41% (19/48) met criteria for an eating disorder. Thus, overall, 7.3% (19/260) of the sample met criteria for a DSM-IV eating disorder. Those scoring ≥2 on the SCOFF were more likely to: be female (p = 0.001), younger (p = 0.003), and have a history of self-harm (p < 0.001).
This study confirms that eating disorders are a hidden phenomenon in general outpatient mental health. By using a standardized diagnostic interview to establish diagnosis rather than self- or staff-report, the study builds on limited previous findings. The naturalistic study setting shows that screening for eating disorders can be easily built into routine intake practice, and successfully identifies treatment need. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:422–425)