The Journal of Psychosomatic Research published an article last month on a study conducted on eating disorders. Apparently there has been an increase in admissions for eating disorder treatment for women over 40.
Two different parts to the study existed: Part One included all occurrences of a female admission for inpatient eating disorder treatment between 1989 and 2006, which totaled 1,040.
Part Two included women admitted to any treatment level for an eating disorder from January to May of 2007 who were compared based on: age at intake to the program, answers to psychological questionnaires, and factors relevant to eating disorders.
Treatment For Women Over 40
The goal of the study: To identify changes in the prevalence of women over 40 (middle-aged, or MA) and women 18 to 39 years old (young-adult, or YA) over the past two decades. What similarities and differences exist among the two groups presenting for eating disorder treatment? How can treatment programs cater to those age-related similarities and differences?
Part One Results: The overall number of middle-aged women who presented for inpatient eating disorder treatment increased from 4.7% in 1989-2011 to 11.6% in 2002-2006.
Part Two Results: At the time of intake for admission for eating disorder treatment, factors that came into play among the two age ranges were: middle-aged women were more likely to be married than young-adult women, the onset of an eating disorder came at a later age in life for middle-aged women than for young-adult women, and middle-aged women report a longer duration of illness than young-adult women. Self-esteem, depression, Body-Mass Index (BMI), anxiety, and eating disorder pathology (the origin of the illness) were not statistically different among the two age groups.
The study can help the eating disorder treatment industry create programs for women that encourage releasing the resistance to formal treatment that has potentially kept middle-aged women from seeking treatment in the past.