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Int J Eat Disord. 2009 Nov;42(7):636-47. doi: 10.1002/eat.20609.

Dropout from inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa: critical review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, Paris, France.



High dropout rates from inpatient treatment for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) pose a serious obstacle to successful treatment. Because dropping out of inpatient treatment may have a negative impact on outcome, it is important to understand why dropout occurs so that treatment can be targeted toward keeping patients in care. We therefore conducted a critical literature review of studies on dropout from inpatient treatment for AN.


Searches of Medline and PsycINFO revealed nine articles on this subject. Two were excluded because they did not differentiate AN from other eating disorders in analyses.


Results were scarce and conflicting, with methodological issues complicating comparisons. Weight on admission, AN subtype, eating disorder symptoms, greater psychiatric difficulty in general, and the absence of depression were related to dropout in multivariate analyses.


Authors should use a common definition of dropout and continue research on the identified predictors as well as potential predictors such as impulsivity and family factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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