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Duration of untreated eating disorder and relationship to outcomes: A systematic review of the literature

Austin, A; Flynn, M; Richards, K; Hodsoll, J; Duarte, TA; Robinson, P; Kelly, J; (2021) Duration of untreated eating disorder and relationship to outcomes: A systematic review of the literature. European Eating Disorders Review , 29 (3) pp. 329-345. 10.1002/erv.2745. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: This systematic review assesses the average duration of untreated eating disorder (DUED) in help‐seeking populations at the time of first eating disorder (ED) treatment and investigates the relationship between DUED and symptom severity/clinical outcomes. / Method: PRISMA guidelines were followed throughout. Selected studies provided information on either: (i) length of DUED, (ii) components of DUED, (iii) cross‐sectional associations between DUED and symptom severity, (iv) associations between DUED and clinical outcomes, or (v) experimental manipulation of DUED. Study quality was assessed. / Results: Fourteen studies from seven countries were included. Across studies, average DUED weighted by sample size was 29.9 months for anorexia nervosa, 53.0 months for bulimia nervosa and 67.4 months for binge eating disorder. A younger age at time of first treatment was indicative of shorter DUED. Retrospective studies suggest that a shorter DUED may be related to a greater likelihood of remission. Manipulation of DUED by shortening service‐related delays may improve clinical outcomes. / Conclusions: Data on length of DUED provide a benchmark for early intervention in EDs. Preliminary evidence suggests DUED may be a modifiable factor influencing outcomes in EDs. To accurately determine the role of DUED, definition and measurement must be uniformly operationalised.

Type: Article
Title: Duration of untreated eating disorder and relationship to outcomes: A systematic review of the literature
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/erv.2745
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2745
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, duration of untreated illness, early intervention, eating disorder
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Department of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122397
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