Objective: To assess the potential role of selflessness in predicting remission from an eating disorder (ED) following discharge from an adolescent day-care unit. Method: Participants were 95 female patients (aged 13–19 years) with an ED diagnosis across the spectrum admitted to an adolescent day-care unit for EDs between 2008 and 2012. Forty-one of these participants completed the follow-up assessment, between 12 and 46 months following discharge. No significant differences were found in Time 1 variables between patients who participated in Time 2 and those who did not. At both time points, ED and psychiatric comorbidity diagnoses were made using standard structured interviews. Patients were also administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), The Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26), The Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2) and the Selflessness Scale (SS)*. Results: Only baseline Selflessness Scale was significant in predicting the continuous variable of ED symptomatology level in follow-up. When dividing EDI total score into its subscales at baseline, one of those, maturity fears, was found, together with the SS, significant in the prediction. In predicting remission (this time as a dichotomized variable) in follow-up, only the SS, maturity fears, EDI total, and EAT-26, at baseline, predicted remission at follow-up, but the strength of selflessness was the greatest. Conclusions: Psychological features are not the main target of the important search for predictors of remission from ED. The findings of the present study add the psychological feature of selflessness to this search. Psychotherapy can be enriched by identifying psychological features such as selflessness as one of its foci. The present findings might also renew interest in maturity fears as an additional focus in psychotherapy. Level of evidence: Level III, cohort study.
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© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG.
- Eating disorders
- Maturity fears
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy