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Open Access

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

  • Jennifer Jordan1, 2Email author,
  • Virginia McIntosh2, 3,
  • Frances Carter2,
  • Peter Joyce1,
  • Cynthia Bulik3, 4,
  • Suzanne Luty1,
  • Janice McKenzie1,
  • Christopher Frampton1 and
  • Janet Carter5
Journal of Eating Disorders20153(Suppl 1):O42

Published: 23 November 2015


Anorexia NervosaEating DisorderTreatment CompletionLower TherapyCharacter Inventory

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.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Otago, New Zealand
Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch, New Zealand
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
The Karolinka Institute, Sweden
University of Canterbury, New Zealand


© Jordan et al. 2015

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.