Thibault I, Pauzé R, Bravo G, Lavoie E, Pesant C, Di Meglio G, Frappier J-Y, Meilleur D, Nadeau PO, Stheneur C, Taddeo D. (2017). What Are the Individual, Family, and Social Characteristics Differentiating Prepubertal from Pubertal Anorexia Nervosa? Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 62(12): 837-844.
Prepubertal anorexia nervosa may entail multiple physical effects. When the onset occurs before puberty, the disorder might be associated with a poorer prognosis and a greater resistance to treatment. Until now, prepubertal anorexia nervosa studies have mostly dealt with symptomatology, but rarely with associated factors. This study aims to differentiate prepubescent from pubescent anorexia nervosa regarding individual, family and social characteristics. At admission in programs specialized in eating disorders, female patients (n = 19 prepubertal and 126 pubertal) and their parents filled in questionnaires (EDI-3, BDI II, IPPA, FACES IV, IDPESQ) on key individual, family and social characteristics associated with anorexia nervosa. Prepubertal and pubertal patient results were compared for each measured variable. Pubertal development and anorexia presence were assessed by a paediatrician in all patients. Prepubertal patients account for 13.8% of all cases and have a lower percentile rank than pubertal patients. The many questionnaire results showed little or no difficulty at personal, family or social level and no difference with older patients. These results contribute to challenge our current understanding of prepubertal anorexia nervosa and the prepubescent patient capacity to report their difficulties, which highlights the importance of using several respondents when defining clinical profiles.