Denial of Symptoms and Psychopathology in Adolescent Anorexia NervosaViglione V.a · Muratori F.b · Maestro S.a · Brunori E.a · Picchi L.a
aDivision of Child Neuropsychiatry, Stella Maris Scientific Institute, and bUniversity of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
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Article / Publication Details
Objective: To evaluate the psychopathological status and denial of symptoms in a sample of 38 consecutively admitted adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN). Method: The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children was used to determine the categorical diagnosis of eating disorder. The anorexic adolescents completed the EAT-40 (Eating Attitude Test) and, on the basis of its score, the sample was dichotomized in a false-negative group (FNG) scoring under 30 and a positive group (PG) scoring over 30. We compared these two subgroups in terms of clinical variables (age of onset and admission, duration of illness prior to admission, diagnosis, BMI) and psychopathology assessed by the CBCL (Child Behaviour Checklist) and the YSR (Youth Self-Report). In order to evaluate the possible role of diagnosis and BMI on the EAT score we also dichotomized the sample with respect to the diagnosis (full vs. partial AN) and to the mean female BMI (≤15 vs. >15). Results: A significant difference was found in terms of duration of illness prior to admission, which was briefer in the FNG. Higher CBCL and YSR values were found in the PG with significant differences in terms of YSR internalizing symptoms. A large amount of significantly positive Pearson’s correlations were found between the CBCL and YSR values in the FNG. No significant Pearson’s correlations were found between EAT, BMI and diagnosis. Conclusions: The lower CBCL and YSR values in the FNG seem to point out a tendency of this group to deny anxiety and depression as well as an eating pathology; the longer duration of illness prior to admission in the PG seems to support the hypothesis that the PG may be considered to be not so much more disturbed as more aware of its eating attitudes and psychopathology. The nature of denial in anorexic adolescents is discussed.
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