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SAFA: A new measure to evaluate psychiatric symptoms detected in a sample of children and adolescents affected by eating disorders. Correlations with risk factors

Authors Franzoni E, Monti M, Pellicciari A, Muratore C, Verrotti A, Garone C, Cecconi I, Iero L, Gualandi S, Savarino F, Gualandi P

Published 19 March 2009 Volume 2009:5 Pages 207—214


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Emilo Franzoni1, Morena Monti1, Alessandro Pellicciari1, Carlo Muratore1, Alberto Verrotti3, et al

1Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, Clinical Pediatrics; 2Protection and Enhancement Department, University of Bologna, Italy; 3Clinic of Paediatrics, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy

Abstract: In order to evaluate the psychiatric symptoms associated with a diagnosis of eating disorders (ED) we have administered a new psychometric instrument: the Self Administrated Psychiatric Scales for Children and Adolescents (SAFA) test. SAFA was administered to a cohort of 97 patients, aged from 8.8 to 18, with an ED diagnosis. Age, body mass index (BMI) and BMI standard deviation score were analyzed. Furthermore, while looking for linkable risk factors, we evaluated other data that took an influence over the SAFA profile, like parental separation and family components’ number. Compared to the range of statistical normality (based on Italian population), patients with bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder showed higher and pathologic values in specific subscales. When analyzing sex, males showed more pathologic values in most anxiety-related, obsessiveness–compulsiveness-related and insecurity subscales. A correlation among age, BMI and specific subscales (low self esteem, psychological aspects) emerged in participants with anorexia nervosa. In order to plan more appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children or adolescents suffering from ED, the SAFA test can be an important instrument to evaluate psychiatric symptoms. Therefore, we propose to include this useful, simple self-administered test as a new screening tool for ED diagnosis.

Keywords: psychiatric comorbidity, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, SAFA test

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