Explanatory Factors for Disease-Specific Health-Related Quality of Life in Women with Anorexia Nervosa

Laura Al-Dakhiel Winkler, Claire Gudex*, Mia Beck Lichtenstein, Michael Røder, Carol E. Adair, Jan Magnus Sjogren, Rene Klinkby Stoving

*Corresponding author for this work

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A better understanding of explanatory factors for disease-specific health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in anorexia nervosa (AN) could help direct treatment providers to aspects of the most relevance for patient wellbeing and recovery. We aimed to investigate whether factors associated with HRQoL are the same for women with AN and normal-weight controls. The participants in this study were women with AN recruited from specialized eating disorder centers in Denmark and healthy, normal-weight controls invited via online social media. Participants completed online questionnaires on medical history, disease-specific HRQoL (Eating Disorders Quality of Life Scale, EDQLS) and generic HRQoL (SF-36), eating disorder symptomatology, depression, psychological wellbeing, and work and social adjustment. Questionnaires were fully completed by 211 women with AN (median age 21.7 years) and 199 controls (median age 23.9 years). Women with AN had poorer scores on all measures, i.e., worse HRQoL, psychological health, and work/social functioning. Eating disorder symptomatology affected EDQLS score in both groups, but poorer HRQoL in women with AN was also significantly associated with worse scores on bulimia, maturity fears, depression, vitality, and with older age. The factors investigated together explained 79% of the variance in EDQLS score. Management of disordered self-assessment and thought processes may be of particular importance to women with AN. Greater emphasis on these aspects alongside weight gain could enhance patient–clinician alliance and contribute to better treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1592
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 9. Apr 2021


  • quality of life
  • anorexia nervosa
  • female
  • controls
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Controls
  • Female
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Quality of life


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