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Premature Termination of Treatment among Adults Attending Treatment for Eating Disorders: A Critical Review

DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2020.93010, PP. 123-140

Keywords: Eating Disorders, Adults, Patient Dropouts, Attrition, Premature Termination of Treatment, Inpatients, Outpatients

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The article presents a critical review regarding the premature termination of eating disorder’s treatment among inpatients and outpatients, with the aim of identifying—emotional, psychodynamic and family-related aspects involved. The search strategy used the following MeSH terms combined by Boolean operators: “eating disorders” AND “treatment” OR “patient dropouts” OR “drop-out/dropouts” OR “attrition” OR “premature termination” AND “empirical study” OR “qualitative research”, for on Medline/PUBMED, PsycINFO and EMBASE databases. This article follows the PRISMA Guidelines. A total of 26 studies composed this review, of which 24 were original research articles, 1 was a review and 1 a theoretical article. Only two articles applied qualitative methods analyzing categories of content obtained by in-depth interviews, three combine quantitative and qualitative methods and other three present qualitative analyses while discussing quantitative studies. Further qualitative studies should be carried out to clarify meanings of dropout, premature termination of treatment, and attrition. Different expectations held by patients and by therapeutic teams, and the interpersonal difficulties of these types of patients, stand out as difficulties in constructing “therapeutic alliances”, with impacts on dropout, premature termination and attrition rates.


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