Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the predictive value of early changes in depression levels during inpatient treatment of adolescent anorexia nervosa (AN). Methods: Fifty-six adolescents (88% girls) aged 10–18 years (M = 15.35, SD = 2.23) diagnosed with AN were assessed at admission and 1 month following admission to an inpatient setting. Depression levels and eating disorder symptoms were reported at both assessments. Re-hospitalization within 12 months of discharge was documented using official national records. Results: Whereas depression levels at baseline were found equivalent between subsequently re-hospitalized and non-re-hospitalized patients, at 1 month after admission patients who were later re-hospitalized had higher levels of depression compared to those who were not re-hospitalized. These differences remained significant after controlling for weight gain and anti-depressant medication intake. We additionally found that the proportion of boys in the non-re-hospitalized group was substantially larger than their proportion in the re-hospitalized group. Conclusions: Our results suggest that depression at the point of hospital admission may not be a reliable predictor of treatment outcomes, and highlight the risk of relapse in AN patients whose depression levels do not alleviate after a month of inpatient treatment. Clinicians should consider providing more adjusted and intensive attention to such patients in their efforts to facilitate remission. Level of evidence III: Well-designed cohort study.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Inpatient treatment