Early Response to treatment in Eating Disorders: A Systematic Review and a Diagnostic Test Accuracy Meta-Analysis

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2017 Mar;25(2):67-79. doi: 10.1002/erv.2495. Epub 2016 Dec 7.


Objective: Early response to eating disorders treatment is thought to predict a later favourable outcome. A systematic review of the literature and meta-analyses examined the robustness of this concept.

Method: The criteria used across studies to define early response were summarised following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Diagnostic Test Accuracy methodology was used to estimate the size of the effect.

Results: Findings from 24 studies were synthesized and data from 14 studies were included in the meta-analysis. In Anorexia Nervosa, the odds ratio of early response predicting remission was 4.85(95%CI: 2.94-8.01) and the summary Area Under the Curve (AUC) = .77. In Bulimia Nervosa, the odds ratio was 2.75(95%CI:1.24-6.09) and AUC = .67. For Binge Eating Disorder, the odds ratio was 5.01(95%CI: 3.38-7.42) and AUC = .71.

Conclusion: Early behaviour change accurately predicts later symptom remission for Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder but there is less predictive accuracy for Bulimia Nervosa. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa; binge eating disorder; cognitive behavioural therapy; early response; eating disorders; family therapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / diagnosis
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / therapy
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome