Body attitudes in patients with eating disorders at presentation and completion of intensive outpatient day treatment

Cecile C Exterkate, Patricia F Vriesendorp, Cor A J de Jong
Eating Behaviors 2009, 10 (1): 16-21
Due to the importance of the distorted body experience in eating disorder diagnosis and treatment, we wanted to explore body attitudes of patients with eating disorders before and after 5 months of intensive specialized outpatient day treatment. We assessed 193 patients diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) using the Body Attitude Test (BAT), Body Mass Index (BMI), Eating Disorder Evaluation Scale (EDES) and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90). Eating disorder subtypes differed in BMI, total body attitudes and negative appreciation of body size at intake, but not at termination of treatment. Following treatment, all patient groups reported large improvements in eating disorder pathology and all but the AN-Restrictive (AN-R) group, reported large improvements in overall psychological functioning. The AN patients demonstrated significant improvement in BMI, however the Anorexia Nervosa purging (AN-P) and Anorexia Nervosa restrictive (AN-R) subtypes differed in their changes in body attitudes. AN-R patients indicated no significant improvement in body attitudes. AN-P patients improved in total body attitudes, except one subscale. Patients with Bulimia Nervosa non-purging (BN-NP) subtype, Bulimia Nervosa purging (BN-P) subtype and EDNOS demonstrated similar improvements in total body attitudes (BAT). Body attitudes provide important insights into differences between eating disorder diagnostic categories and their treatment responsiveness.

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