Int J Eat Disord. 2004 Jul;36(1):99-103.

Suicide in anorexia nervosa: a meta-analysis.

Pompili M, Mancinelli I, Girardi P, Ruberto A, Tatarelli R.

Department of Psychiatric Sciences and Psychological Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital La Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Suicide is a major cause of death among subjects with anorexia nervosa, but the rate of suicide among this population is very often underestimated. We conducted a meta-analysis to compare data reported in representative studies of suicide in anorexia nervosa with data for the general population. METHOD: We searched the Index Medicus until 2002 through MedLine. We also searched the World Health Statistics Annual to ascertain the suicide rate in the age group 14-25 for specific years and country.


We selected nine studies comprising 1,536 patients. Of these patients, 36 committed suicide. Results obtained for each study were processed together to calculate the mean figure for each year of suicides for 100,000 individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa. DISCUSSION: Our meta-analysis shows that suicide among patients with anorexia nervosa is more frequent when compared with the general population. All study analyses, except one, reported that the patients with anorexia nervosa committed suicide more often than their counterparts in the general population.

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