Department of Economics and Business Economics

The incidence of eating disorders in a Danish register study: Associations with suicide risk and mortality

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  • Stephanie Zerwas, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, United States
  • Janne Tidselbak Larsen
  • Liselotte Petersen
  • Laura M. Thornton, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, United States
  • Preben Bo Mortensen
  • Cynthia Bulik, Unknown
Our aim was to characterize the incidence rates and cumulative incidence of anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and examine associations among eating disorder diagnoses, suicide attempts, and mortality. Individuals born in Denmark between 1989 and 2006 were included (N = 966,141, 51.3% male). Eating disorders diagnoses (AN, broad AN, BN, EDNOS) were drawn from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register (PCRR) and Danish National Patient Register (NPR). Suicide attempts and deaths were captured in the NPR, the PCRR, and the Danish Civil Registration System (CRS). In females, AN had a peak hazard at approximately age 15 years, BN at 22 years, and EDNOS had an extended peak that spanned 18 years–22 years. Eating disorder diagnoses predicted a significantly higher hazard for death and suicide attempt compared with the referent of individuals with no eating disorders. In males, peak hazard for diagnosis was earlier than in females. The present study represents one of the largest and longest studies of eating disorder incidence and suicide attempts and death in both females and males. Eating disorders are accompanied by increased hazard of suicide attempts and death even in young adults.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume65
Pages (from-to)16-22
ISSN0022-3956
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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