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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1986 Mar;27(2):237-50.

Pre-pubertal anorexia nervosa: a retrospective controlled study.


Pre-pubertal anorexia nervosa is a challenge to the explanatory powers of the many aetiological theories. This retrospective controlled study specifically compares 20 subjects with pre-pubertal anorexia nervosa to matched post-pubertal anorectic and pre-pubertal neurotic groups. The results show greater pre-morbid feeding problems in the index group and their families; both pre-pubertal groups show more behavioural problems before becoming ill. The illness is very similar in the two anorectic groups; they show comparable levels of sexual anxiety, and self-injury rates (35%) are equal. The implications of these findings for the various theories are discussed.

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