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Int J Eat Disord. 1993 Nov;14(3):261-7.

A follow-up study of 33 subdiagnostic eating disordered women.

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Eating Disorders Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Thirty-three female subjects with subdiagnostic DSM-III-R anorexia nervosa (SAN) and/or subdiagnostic bulimia nervosa (SBN) were reinterviewed 24 to 52 months (mean 41 months) after seeking treatment for an eating disorder. Subjects were administered a semistructured interview by telephone and assessed for level of functioning, eating disorder symptoms, course of illness, and treatment sought. During the course of the follow-up, 15 (46%) subjects went on to meet full DSM-III-R criteria for AN and/or BN. At follow-up, 4 (12%) met full DSM-III-R criteria for AN and/or BN, 22 (67%) were subdiagnostic, and 6 (18%) had recovered. The high percentage of subdiagnostic women that eventually develop full DSM-III-R criteria for AN and/or BN and the low rates of recovery at 2 to 4 years suggest that the current diagnostic criteria may be too restrictive.

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