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Why Do People With Eating Disorders Drop Out From Inpatient Treatment?: The Role of Personality Factors

Pham-Scottez, Alexandra MD*†‡; Huas, Caroline MD†§; Perez-Diaz, Fernando Ing; Nordon, Clémentine MD*†; Divac, Snezana PhD*; Dardennes, Roland PhD*; Speranza, Mario PhD†¶; Rouillon, Frédéric PhD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: September 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 9 - p 807–813
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318266bbba
Original Articles

Dropout rates from inpatient treatment for eating disorders are very high and have a negative impact on outcome. The purpose of this study was to identify personality factors predictive of dropout from hospitalization. A total of 64 adult patients with anorexia nervosa consecutively hospitalized in a specialized unit were included; 19 patients dropped out. The dropout group and the completer group were compared for demographic variables, clinical features, personality dimensions, and personality disorders. There was no link between clinical features and dropout, and among demographic variables, only age was associated with dropout. Personality factors, comorbidity with a personality disorder and Self-transcendence dimension, were statistically predictive of premature termination of hospitalization. In a multivariate model, these two factors remain significant. Personality traits (Temperament and Character Inventory personality dimension and comorbid personality disorder) are significantly associated with dropout from inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa. Implications for clinical practice, to diminish the dropout rate, will be discussed.

*Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale, Hôpital Sainte-Anne, Paris Cedex 14; †INSERM U669, Univ Paris-Sud and Univ Paris Descartes, Paris; ‡Univ. Paris-VI, Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris; §Universitary Department of General Practice, Tours University, Tours; ∥CNRS Centre Emotion, Hôpital de la Salpétrière, Paris; and ¶CHU de Versailles, Le Chesnay, and EA440/47 UVSQ, Versailles Saint-Quentin, France.

Send reprint requests to Alexandra Pham-Scottez, MD, Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale, Hôpital Sainte-Anne, 100, Rue de la Santé, 75674, Paris Cedex 14, France. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.