Relapse in anorexia nervosa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

T.N. Berends*, N. Boonstra, Annemarie Van Elburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review Relapse is common in patients with anorexia nervosa. The aim of this study is to systematically review the existing literature on relapse in anorexia nervosa. Recent findings A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, PsychInfo and CINAHL published up to April 2018. Of the 1527 studies screened, 16 studies were included in the present review. Summary This analysis shows that, of the patients included in this review, 31% relapsed after treatment. The highest risk of relapse is during the first year after discharge and this risk continues for up to 2 years. An overview was made of all factors significantly associated with a higher risk of relapse, resulting in the following four clusters: eating disorder variables, comorbidity symptoms, process treatment variables and demographic variables. Future research on relapse prevention is necessary to further unravel the mechanisms that might lead to relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Predictors
  • Rate
  • Relapse
  • Risk factors
  • Timing


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