ObjectiveFew studies have assessed outcomes of anorexia nervosa (AN) outside clinical settings. We aimed to assess mortality, recovery, and socio-demographic outcomes of AN in a community sample.
MethodWomen in the nationwide FinnTwin16 cohort (born 1975-1979) were followed for 10 years after baseline diagnostic assessment (mean age at follow-up 34 years, N=2188). We compared women with lifetime DSM-IV AN (N=40) with unaffected women from the same cohort.
ResultsNone of the women with AN had died and 88% were weight-recovered (BMI18.5 kg/m(2)), but their mean BMI (22.0 kg/m(2)) was lower than among unaffected women (24.0 kg/m(2), p=0.008). University degrees (38 vs. 29%, p=0.26), sickness absence during the past year (median 5 vs. 3 days, p=0.21), or unemployment or disability pension (5 vs. 4%, p=0.62) did not significantly differ between AN probands and their unaffected peers. More women with AN were still studying (15 vs. 4%, p=0.003), and half of them had children, as compared to 66% of unaffected women (p=0.05).
DiscussionThe long-term prognosis of AN in the community appears promising. Weight-restoration is common and socio-demographic outcomes are generally favorable. However, women with a history of AN may be less likely to have children. (c) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:851-859).