Trends in eating disorder symptomatology in an outpatient clinic: 1988-1998

Suzanne E. Mazzeo, Dorothy L. Espelage, Roberta Sherman, Ron Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eating disorders treatment has been altered by changes in the health care system. In addition, there has been a major emphasis on prevention in recent years. Yet, there are few investigations of the effects of these changes on the severity of patients' symptomatology at intake. This study examined differences in symptoms among women who presented to an outpatient clinic between 1988 and 1998. Patients were divided into Cohort 1 (1988-1992) and Cohort 2 (1993-1998). Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) in Cohort 2 had significantly lower body mass indices (BMIs) at intake. Moreover, a greater number of patients with AN in Cohort 2 had BMIs≤15, suggesting severe malnourishment. Cohort 2 patients with bulimia nervosa obtained higher scores on the Interpersonal Distrust, Interoceptive Awareness, and Maturity Fears subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory. There were no cohort differences in eating disorder duration, exercising, laxative or diuretic use, or self-induced vomiting. These results provide some evidence that the severity of eating symptomatology has increased in recent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Eating disorders
  • Managed care
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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