Denial and minimization in adolescents with anorexia nervosa
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OBJECTIVES: This study examines symptoms of denial in 86 adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN) using a dataset from a family therapy trial. METHOD: Using the Restraint subscale of the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) at baseline, participants were divided into deniers (n = 15), minimizers (n = 21), and admitters (n = 50). These subgroups were compared with analysis of variance (ANOVA; Tukey post-hoc analysis) on a variety of assessment and treatment variables at baseline and at 12 months. RESULTS: Although body mass index (BMI) was not significantly different, all subscale scores of the EDE were lower in the deniers compared with the admitters (p = .0001 for all subscales) at baseline. Minimizers also scored lower than admitters on 3 of 4 subscales (p = .0001 for the Restraint, Weight Concern, and Shape Concern subscales of the EDE). At baseline and at 12 months, there were no significant differences on the Youth Self-Report or the Child Behavior Checklist. At 12 months, the only significant difference was in the Restraint subscale, with deniers still scoring lower than admitters (p = .015). CONCLUSION: Denial and minimization appear to be common processes occurring in adolescents with AN and present difficulties in assessment.