DSM-5 severity specifiers for anorexia nervosa and treatment outcomes in adult females

Eat Behav. 2018 Dec;31:18-23. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2018.07.006. Epub 2018 Jul 23.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate treatment outcomes across the BMI (body mass index)-based DSM-5 severity specifiers in a sample of adult females with anorexia nervosa (AN) treated with enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-E).

Method: One hundred and twenty-eight participants with AN (64 outpatients and 64 inpatients) were sub-categorised using DSM-5 severity specifiers and compared by baseline clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes at the end of treatment and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups.

Results: No significant differences were found across the four severity groups for 'weight recovery' (i.e., BMI ≥ 18.5 kg/m2) or 'good outcome' (i.e., BMI ≥ 18.5 kg/m2 and minimal accompanying eating disorder psychopathology).

Discussion: Our data suggest that the DSM-5 severity specifiers for anorexia nervosa may have limited clinical utility in predicting treatment outcomes of CBT-E.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Cognitive behavioural therapy; Diagnosis; Severity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Treatment Outcome