What can dropouts teach us about retention in eating disorder treatment studies?

Renee Rienecke Hoste*, Shannon Zaitsoff, Kristen Hewell, Daniel Le Grange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe strategies used to retain adolescents with bulimia nervosa (BN) in a randomized clinical trial, and to compare treatment completers and dropouts on baseline demographic and symptom severity information. Method: Adolescents with BN (N = 80) completed a demographic questionnaire, the Eating Disorder Examination, Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale, Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales, and Beck Depression Inventory prior to beginning treatment. Results: Several strategies were used to promote treatment retention (e.g., encouraging parental involvement in treatment, prompt rescheduling of cancelled appointments). Six participants (7.50%) voluntarily dropped out of treatment and three additional participants (3.75%) were asked to terminate treatment for medical/psychiatric reasons. Compared with treatment completers, noncompleters reported significantly longer duration of illness (p < .01). Sixty-two percent of treatment completers and only 22% of dropouts were from intact families. Conclusion: Examining factors related to retention in adolescent treatment trials is important, and could be utilized to improve retention in adult studies where drop out rates are higher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-671
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Retention
  • Treatment study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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