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Estimated intelligence quotient in anorexia nervosa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Carolina Lopez, Daniel Stahl, Kate Tchanturia

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalAnnals of General Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2010

King's Authors


It has been hypothesised that people with anorexia nervosa have a higher intelligence quotient (IQ) level than the general population. The purpose of this review was to systematically appraise the research into reported IQ levels in people with anorexia nervosa.

A search using the terms intelligence quotient, IQ, intelligence, cognition, eating disorders and anorexia was conducted in electronic databases only.

In all, 30 peer-reviewed studies written in English that used well established measures of intelligence quotient (the National Adult Reading Test and Wechsler Intelligence Scales) were identified. This review established that people with anorexia nervosa score 10.8 units and 5.9 units above the average intelligence quotient of the normative population on the National Adult Reading Test and Wechsler Intelligence Scales, respectively. An association was found between Body Mass Index and intelligence quotient, as measured by the National Adult Reading Test.

More studies including other eating disorder categories and recovered people are needed to explore important questions regarding the role of the intelligence quotient in treatment response.

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