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Journal of Eating Disorders

Open Access

Assessment of quality of life in people with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa: a comparison of generic and specific instruments

  • Deborah Mitchison1Email author,
  • Phillipa Hay2, 3,
  • Scott Engel4,
  • Ross Crosby4,
  • Daniel Le Grange5,
  • Hubert Lacey6,
  • Jonathan Mond7, 8,
  • Shameran Slewa-Younan9 and
  • Stephen Touyz10
Journal of Eating Disorders20131(Suppl 1):O42

Published: 14 November 2013


Anorexia NervosaFunctional ImpairmentEating DisorderMedical Outcome StudySocial Adjustment


To compare the psychometric properties of generic and disease-specific measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL).


63 participants with anorexia nervosa (AN) completed measures of generic HRQoL (Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form; SF-12), disease-specific HRQoL (Eating Disorders Quality of Life Questionnaire; EDQOL), functional impairment (days out of role; Work and Social Adjustment Scale), and eating disorder severity (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire) at baseline, post-treatment, and 6-12 months follow-up. The SF-12 and EDQOL were compared on internal consistency, convergence validity, and criterion-related validity.


The EDQOL had stronger internal consistency α = 0.92 vs. 0.80), convergence with eating disorder severity (r = 0.06 to 0.53 vs. 0.11 to -0.39), and criterion-related (functional impairment) validity (β = 0.37 - 0.46) compared to the SF-12. The SF-12 converged more strongly with functional impairment (r = -0.31 to -0.63 vs. 0.06 to 0.70). The SF-12 (β = 0.41 - 0.42) and EDQOL (β = 0.33 - 0.38) had similar criterion-related (eating disorder severity) validity.


The EDQOL and SF-12 should be used where possible in tandem as measures of HRQoL, whereas the SF-12 may be preferable in studies where comparisons are to be made with other populations.

This abstract was presented in the Anorexia Nervosa – Characteristics and Treatment stream of the 2013 ANZAED Conference.

Authors’ Affiliations

School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia
Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia
School of Medicine, James Cook University, Australia
Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, USA
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, USA
Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, St George's, University of London, UK
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Australia
School of Sociology, Australian National University, Australia
School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia
School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Australia


© Mitchison et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.