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J Psychosom Res. 1998 Mar-Apr;44(3-4):435-40.

Is amenorrhea a critical criterion for anorexia nervosa?

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Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


The significance of amenorrhea as a criterion for anorexia nervosa was examined. Twelve nonamenorrheic women treated for anorexia were compared with 40 women meeting full DSM-IV criteria. The nonamenorrheic group displayed the same high levels of eating disorder, body-image disturbance, and psychopathology as the amenorrheic group, as measured by the following variables: body-size overestimation on the Image Marking Procedure; body distortion on the Body Distortion Questionnaire; eating disorder on the Eating Disorder Inventory; depression on the Beck Depression Inventory; psychopathology on the MMPI; and external locus of control on the Rotter Locus of Control Scale. Amenorrhea does not appear to be a useful criterion for distinguishing full-syndrome anorexia nervosa from partial-syndrome cases.

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