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Can we predict who will complete outpatient therapy for anorexia nervosa?

The literature on characteristics associated with premature termination of treatment (PTT) is beset with conflicting findings.


This study examines potential clinical and therapy related predictors in relation to treatment completion status in a randomised psychotherapy trial for anorexia nervosa (AN).


Participants were 56 women aged 17-40 years with strict or lenient AN. Treatment completion was defined as completing 15/20 planned sessions. Measures were demographic and clinical variables (eating disorder history, comorbidity and personality measures), patient-rating on the Treatment Credibility scale and early therapy alliance - audiotaped sessions were rated by independent raters using the Vanderbilt Therapeutic Alliance scale (VTAS) and the Vanderbilt Psychotherapy Process Scale (VPPS). Statistics were univariate tests, correlations and logistic regressions.


Lower self-transcendence scores on the Temperament and Character Inventory, lower treatment credibility ratings and lower therapy alliance on some subscales were associated with PTT.


Paying close attention to specific patient personality characteristics, patient views of therapy and early process indicators may assist clinicians to retain more patients in treatment and thereby enhance treatment outcomes.

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Correspondence to Jennifer Jordan.

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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. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Jordan, J., McIntosh, V., Carter, F. et al. Can we predict who will complete outpatient therapy for anorexia nervosa?. J Eat Disord 3 (Suppl 1), O42 (2015).

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