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A systematic review of studies probing longitudinal associations between anxiety and anorexia nervosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume276
Early online date8 May 2019
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 6 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2019

Abstract

The current study aimed to establish whether anxiety predicts subsequent anorexia nervosa onset and maintenance. A systematic review of longitudinal studies assessing the association between stable anxiety exposures (e.g. trait anxiety/anxiety disorder pathology) and anorexia nervosa development or maintenance was undertaken. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Seven probed the association between anxiety and anorexia nervosa onset, and one assessed the association between anxiety and anorexia nervosa maintenance. Individuals with anorexia nervosa were more likely to report childhood anxiety compared to healthy individuals, but whether childhood anxiety explains unique variance in anorexia nervosa development is unclear. Current evidence does not support longitudinal associations between specific anxiety disorders (independently of other anxiety disorders) and subsequent anorexia nervosa onset, however anxiety disorder diagnosis in general may predict increased anorexia nervosa risk. The single study probing the association between anxiety and anorexia nervosa maintenance did not find evidence supporting a relationship. The quality of individual studies was fair to high, however the body of evidence was of low quality. Further research that minimises bias, allowing for strong conclusions concerning longitudinal associations between anxiety and subsequent anorexia nervosa outcomes, is required to inform anorexia nervosa aetiology. This in turn may promote improved prevention and treatment.

    Research areas

  • Anxiety disorders, Epidemiology, Longitudinal, Prospective, Retrospective, Systematic review

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.05.010 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 458 KB, PDF-document

    Embargo ends: 8/05/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

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