Capturing clinically significant eating pathology in adolescence

Rasmus Isomaa, AL Isomaa, M Marttunen, R Kaltiala-Heino

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Background and Objectives: Several large-scale studies on adolescent mental health have used questionnaire items derived from DSM-IV criteria to assess eating disorders. The aim of the present brief report was to analyse the capacity of self-reported eating disorder symptoms to capture clinically significant eating disorders.Methods: All pupils in the ninth grade (N = 606, response rate 98.2%, mean age = 15.4) of comprehensive school in a defined area were invited to participate in the study. Adolescents who reported some form of eating pathology (n = 126) were invited to an interview (RAB).Results: Anorexia based on the self-report resulted in a positive predictive value of 60.0% for lifetime and 20% for current eating disorder, when compared to the results in the RAB. No case of BN was detected by the RAB, but self-reported BN symptoms were predictive of both EDNOS and subclinical eating pathology.Conclusions: Self-reported eating disorder symptoms seem to be relatively good predictors of broadly defined eating pathology, but may result in overestimation of clinical conditions.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)122–128
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Eating disorder
  • DSM-IV

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