Prevalence and correlates of psychiatric comorbidities in children and adolescents with full and subthreshold avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

P. Evelyna Kambanis, Megan C. Kuhnle, Olivia B. Wons, Jenny H. Jo, Ani C. Keshishian, Kristine Hauser, Kendra R. Becker, Debra L. Franko, Madhusmita Misra, Nadia Micali, Elizabeth A. Lawson, Kamryn T. Eddy, Jennifer J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: We aimed to characterize the current and lifetime prevalence of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses and suicidality in treatment- and nontreatment-seeking individuals with full and subthreshold avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). We also sought to examine unique associations between the three DSM-5 ARFID profiles (i.e., sensory sensitivity, fear of aversive consequences, and lack of interest in food or eating) and specific categories of psychiatric diagnoses and suicidality. Method: We conducted structured clinical interviews with 74 children and adolescents with full or sub threshold ARFID to assess the presence of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, suicidality, and the severity of each of the three ARFID profiles. Results: Nearly half of the sample (45%) met criteria for a current comorbid psychiatric diagnosis, and over half (53%) met criteria for a lifetime comorbid diagnosis. A total of 8% endorsed current suicidality and 14% endorsed lifetime suicidality. Severity in the sensory sensitivity profile was uniquely associated with greater odds of comorbid disorders in the neurodevelopmental, disruptive, and conduct disorders category; the anxiety, obsessive–compulsive, and trauma-related disorders category; and the depressive and bipolar-related disorders category. Severity in the fear of aversive consequences profile was associated with greater odds of disorders in the anxiety, obsessive–compulsive, and trauma-related disorders category. Discussion: Our findings underscore the severity of psychopathology among individuals with ARFID and related presentations, and also highlight the potential that shared psychopathology between specific ARFID profiles and other psychiatric disorders represent transdiagnostic constructs (e.g., avoidant behavior) that may be relevant treatment targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ARFID
  • anxiety disorders
  • avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
  • comorbidity
  • diagnosis
  • structured interview
  • suicidality

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