Eating Disorders and Life Span Development
Current research shows a relationship between age and eating disorder diagnoses but does not fully understand how symptoms manifest at different stages of Life Span Development (LSD). To identify the difference of eating disorder symptoms by age, the study analyzed existing EDI-2 scores and other demographic data from 2247 female adolescent and adult patients at a commercial residential eating disorder treatment center. Results from this study showed that anorexia nervosa is most common in female adolescents and older adults, but bulimia nervosa emerges as the most common diagnosis for young adults. Levels of comorbid psychopathology and EDI-2 scores are lower for young adolescents but higher for young adults. Comorbidity decreases slightly in the older adults, but perfectionism remains high. As age increases, eating disorder treatment needs to focus more on comorbidities. Further research can explore if treatment effectiveness can be improved by paying attention to an individual’s developmental stage.