From efficacy to effectiveness: child and adolescent eating disorder treatments in the real world (Part 2): 7-year follow-up

Catherine S. Stewart, Julian Baudinet, Alfonce Munuve, Antonia Bell, Anna Konstantellou, Ivan Eisler, Mima Simic*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Eating disorders are often characterised as disabling, chronic or relapsing conditions with high mortality rates. This study reports follow-up outcomes for patients seen at the Maudsley Centre for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders (MCCAED), whose end of treatment outcomes are reported in a separate paper. Methods: Three-hundred-and-fifty-seven former patients, who received evidence-based treatment for an eating disorder as a child or adolescent in MCCAED between 2009 and 2014 were eligible to participate. Current contact information was available for 290, of whom 149 (51.4%) consented to follow-up. Participants were sent links to online questionnaires, with additional demographic information extracted from medical records. Descriptive analyses of key socioeconomic and health outcomes were performed on data collected. Results: Mean length of follow-up was 6 years 11 months. Ten (6.7%) participants reported a current diagnosis of an eating disorder at follow-up. The great majority reported no (63.8%) or minimal (26.8%) interference from eating disorder difficulties. More than half (53.6%) reported other mental health diagnoses with most reporting no (33.8%) or minimal (50.7%) interference from those difficulties. One third (33.3%) had sought help for an eating disorder and around 20% received prolonged/intensive treatment during the follow-up period. Approximately 70% had sought treatment for other mental health difficulties (mostly anxiety or depression) and 35.4% had substantial treatment. At follow-up more than half (55.5%) reported doing generally well, and around two-thirds reported general satisfaction with their social well-being (65%). The majority (62.7%) had a good outcome on the Morgan Russell criteria, which was consistent with low self-reported ratings on EDE-Q, and low impact of eating disorder or mental health symptoms on work and social engagement. Most of the former patients who had day and/or inpatient treatment as a part of their comprehensive integrated care at MCCAED did well at follow-up. Conclusions: Young people seen in specialist eating disorder services do relatively well after discharge at longer-term follow-up especially regarding eating disorders but less favourably regarding other mental health difficulties. Few reported a diagnosable eating disorder, and the great majority went on to perform similarly to their peers in educational and vocational achievements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number14
    JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2022


    • Adolescent
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Bulimia nervosa
    • Child
    • Family based treatment
    • Family therapy for anorexia nervosa
    • Family therapy for bulimia nervosa


    Dive into the research topics of 'From efficacy to effectiveness: child and adolescent eating disorder treatments in the real world (Part 2): 7-year follow-up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this