Clinical Characteristics Associated with Premature Termination from Outpatient Psychotherapy for Anorexia Nervosa


Correspondence: Dr Jennifer Jordan, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. Tel: +6433720400; Fax: +6433720407.




The literature on clinical characteristics associated with premature termination of treatment (PTT) is beset with conflicting and non-replicated findings. This study explores clinical characteristics potentially associated with PTT in a randomised controlled outpatient psychotherapy trial for anorexia nervosa (AN).


Participants were 56 women aged 17–40 years with spectrum AN. The completer group (n = 35) included those completing at least 15/20 planned sessions with the remainder of the sample comprising the PTT group (n = 21). Variables examined included demographic factors, psychosocial functioning, psychiatric history, lifetime comorbidity, temperament and eating disorder characteristics. Logistic regression was used to examine significant variables. A Kaplan–Meier survival curve was used to illustrate time taken to PTT.


The mean number of sessions in the PTT group was 8.1. Lower self-transcendence scores on the Temperament and Character Inventory were associated with PTT.


Recognising and addressing personality factors have the potential to enhance retention in treatment. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.