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Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • age of onset;
  • vomiting;
  • substance abuse

Objective: There have so far been no studies that directly compared clinical features between patients with early- and late-onset anorexia nervosa (AN).

Method: We identified 64 patients with DSM-III-R AN. We defined individuals as an early-onset group, who had an age of onset before 14 years (N=31), and the remaining as a late-onset group (N=33). The clinical symptoms, body weight and weight index, were compared between the two groups. Subjects were dichotomized into those with extremely low weight and those remaining. We compared the proportion of the patients with extremely low weight between the two groups.

Results: The rates of ‘self-induced vomiting’ and ‘purging’ were significantly lower in a group of patients with early-onset AN than in those with late-onset AN. There were significantly fewer subjects with extremely low weight in early-onset than in late-onset AN group.

Conclusion: We found clear differences in clinical features between early- and late-onset AN groups.