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The European Journal of Psychiatry

versión impresa ISSN 0213-6163


VETRONE, Giuseppe; CUZZOLARO, Massimo; ANTONOZZI, Italo  y  GARFINKEL, Paul E. Screening for eating disorders: false negatives and eating disorders not otherwise specified. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.1, pp.13-20. ISSN 0213-6163.

OBJECTIVE: To study the problem of false negatives in the screening for eating disorders. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We administered the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT40) and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) to 186 Italian female students (age 17.68 ± 0.9; BMI 20.84 ± 2.69). Then we submitted not only high-scorers but also all the subjects to a semi-structured diagnostic interview (Eating Disorder Examination - EDE 12.0D). The diagnosis of eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) was applied to cases which met all the DSM-IV criteria for AN and/or BN with one exception. RESULTS: 17 girls (9.1%) fulfilled diagnostic criteria for eating disorders: 1 bulimia nervosa full-syndrome and 16 EDNOS. Of the 17 girls 11 were EAT low-scorers (< 30) and 8 were EDI low-scorers (< 50); 5 subjects scored below the cutoff on both instruments. We calculated sensitivity (35.3%), specificity (88.8%), positive predictive value (PPV, 24.0%) and negative predictive value (NPV, 93.2%) of the EAT40; the respective values for the EDI were 52.9% (sensitivity), 85.2% (specificity), 26.4% (PPV) and 94.7% (NPV). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Our data show that the introduction of the EDNOS diagnoses increases the PPV of the two questionnaires but lowers their sensitivity. We conclude that using a two stage screening approach leads to a very high rate of false negatives with a significant underestimation of the prevalence of eating disorders, particularly of EDNOS.

Palabras clave : eating disorders; eating disorders not otherwise specified; screening; false negatives; Eating Attitudes Test (EAT40); Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI).

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