The predictive value of depression in anorexia nervosa Results of a seven-year follow-up study


B.M. Herpertz-Dahlmann, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Philipps University, Hans-Sachs-Str. 6, D-35039 Marburg, Germany


This study investigated the predictive value of depression in patients with adolescent anorexia nervosa. Thirty-four anorectic inpatients were assessed for DSM-III-R comorbid major depression at admission and at 3-year and 7-year follow-ups. Two standardized instruments, the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, were applied to improve objective rating of depression. The findings suggest that severity of depressive symptoms at admission does not correlate with the severity of depression at follow-up, initial depressive psychopathology is not a valid prognostic indicator for the outcome of the eating disorder and at follow-up there is a highly significant relationship between depression and the outcome of anorexia nervosa. Patients with persisting eating disorder are also very likely to suffer from comorbid depression.