Background: Anorexia nervosa often requires inpatient treatment that includes psychotherapeutic intervention in addition to physical and nutritional management for severe low body weight. However, such patients sometimes terminate inpatient treatment prematurely because of resistance to treatment, poor motivation for treatment, unstable emotions, and problematic behaviors. In this study, the psychopathological factors related to the personality of anorexic patients that might predict discontinuation of inpatient treatment were investigated using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Methods: Subjects were 75 consecutive anorectic inpatients who received cognitive behavioral therapy with a behavior protocol governing privileges in a university hospital based general (not psychiatric) ward. The MMPI was done on admission for all patients. A comparison was done of patients who completed the process of inpatient treatment, including attainment of target body weight (completers), and patients who dropped out of inpatient treatment (dropouts). Results: No significant differences between completers (n = 51) and dropouts (n = 24) were found in the type of eating disorder, age of onset, duration of illness, age, or BMI at admission. Logistic regression analysis found the MMPI scales schizophrenia (Sc), hypomania (HYP), deviant thinking and experience, and antisocial attitude to be factors predicting completion or dropout. Conclusion: Dropouts have difficulty adapting to inpatient treatment protocols such as our behavior protocol governing privileges because they have social and emotional alienation, a lack of ego mastery (Sc), emotional instability (HYP) and an antisocial attitude. As a result, they have decreased motivation for treatment, leave the hospital without permission, attempt suicide, or shoplift, which leads them to terminate inpatient treatment prematurely. Treatments based on cognitive behavioral therapy with a behavior protocol governing privileges should be carefully adopted for anorectic patients who exhibit the psychopathological elements identified in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry