• anorexia nervosa;
  • eating disorders;
  • drop-out;
  • treatment termination


Treatment drop-out rates for anorexia nervosa (AN) are notoriously high, and have remained so over the course of time, and across different treatment settings and modalities. The outcome for such patients is frequently poor. Despite the prevalence of this problem, there is little quality evidence as to why this is the case, and what the predictors of drop-out are. Methodological uniformity has been called for in order to develop a cohesive literature in this field, and this paper argues that we must also reflect upon how our labelling of ‘the dropout’ has shaped what we have examined to date, and how that has in turn led to a weak evidence base. A new, less pejorative term for those who do not complete treatment is needed to reflect the direction research in this area needs to take. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.