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Behav Res Ther. 2012 Apr;50(4):266-74. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Weight suppression as a predictor of weight gain and response to intensive behavioral treatment in patients with anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, United States.


Previous studies have documented that weight suppression (a person's highest adult weight minus current weight) predicts weight gain and disordered eating symptoms during treatment of bulimia spectrum disorders, but no research has examined weight suppression in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN). Thus, this study sought to characterize weight suppression in a large sample of patients with AN (N = 185), and to evaluate whether weight suppression at admission for intensive behavioral treatment predicts weight gain and clinical outcomes at discharge. Weight suppression varied from 0 kg to 78 kg (M [SD] = 17.1 [10.8] kg) in AN patients. Higher levels of weight suppression predicted greater total weight gain, a faster rate of weight gain, and bulimic symptoms during intensive treatment even after controlling for body mass index on admission, length and type of intensive treatment received, restricting versus binge-eating/purging AN subtype, and other predictors of study outcomes. These findings converge with previous research documenting the clinical significance of weight suppression in the treatment of eating disorders. Future work is needed to replicate the current findings, and examine whether weight suppression predicts the course of AN following discharge from intensive treatment.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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