Sexual abuse has been widely studied as a risk factor in anorexia nervosa, but data on its influence on treatment outcomes are scarce. Hence, we compared short- and long-term outcomes of inpatient enhanced cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT-E) in patients with anorexia nervosa who had and had not suffered sexual abuse. Eighty-one patients were recruited, and body mass index (BMI), Eating Disorder Examination, Brief Symptom Inventory, and Work and Social Adjustment Scale scores were recorded before and after treatment, and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Twenty patients (24.7%) reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse before anorexia nervosa onset, while 61 (75.3%) reported none. Both groups displayed similar characteristics before treatment, and similarly large increases in BMI, eating-disorder, general psychopathology, and work and social functioning from baseline to 12-month follow-up. Based on these findings, childhood sexual abuse does not appear to compromise outcomes in patients with anorexia nervosa treated via intensive CBT-E.
Keywords: Eating disorder; Follow-up; Inpatient treatment; Social functioning.
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