Self-selection bias in eating disorders outcomes research: Does treatment response of underweight research participants and non-participants differ?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Observational treatment studies provide a valuable alternative to RCTs but are often criticized due to potential self-selection biases. Studies comparing those who do and do not participate in research on eating disorder treatment are scarce, but necessary to evaluate the impact of self-selection bias on outcomes. All consecutive underweight adult first admissions (N = 392) to an integrated inpatient (IP)-partial hospital (PH) behavioral specialty program were invited to participate in a longitudinal study of eating disorder treatment. Demographic and hospital course data were collected on participants (n = 234) and non-participants (n = 158). Participants and non-participants had similar BMI at admission, lengths of stay, and weight gain rates. Participants were less likely than non-participants to end treatment prematurely from IP and were discharged at a higher BMI; the effect size was small. Few differences in hospital course were observed between participants and non-participants. Although participants were more likely to transition to PH and were discharged at a higher BMI, completion of step-down to PH within this integrated IP-PH program rather than research participation status at admission was a better indicator of discharge BMI, which remains the strongest predictor of long-term weight-maintenance in eating disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-605
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Keywords

  • anorexia nervosa
  • eating disorders
  • inpatient treatment
  • observational studies
  • research participation
  • self-selection bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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