Drop outs from in-patient treatment of anorexia nervosa


Almut Zeeck, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapeutic Medicine, University of Freiburg, Hauptstrasse 8, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.
E-mail: zeeck@psysom.ukl.uni-freiburg.de


Objective:  Aim of the study was to identify patient characteristics that distinguish drop outs and completers from in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa.

Method:  A total of 133 consecutively admitted in-patients with anorexia nervosa (age range 16–50 years; 92.5% women) were analysed using sociodemographic variables as well as measures of psychopathology (SCL-90-R, EDI-2) and interpersonal difficulties (IIP-C). Patients were treated in a multimodal treatment setting, combining cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic components.

Results:  Patients, who reported fewer symptoms, were hospitalized before and had a comorbid depression stayed more often in psychotherapy. Patients dropping out of treatment (31.6%) showed a trend to higher levels of maturity fears. Subtype, age, duration of illness, comorbid personality disorders or previous drop outs were not predictive of dropping out.

Conclusion:  Addressing the high ambivalence and maturity fears of anorexic patients should be an essential issue in psychotherapy with this patient group.