BACKGROUND: Educational attainment is an understudied outcome in eating disorders (ED). We compared the educational attainment of individuals with and without ED.
METHODS: This study is a nationwide, register-based, observational epidemiological study using record linkage. The studied cohorts were (1) all persons treated psychiatrically for ED from 1970 to 2014, and (2) a control population matched for sex, age, and place of residence. The International Standard Classification of Education 2011 was used to classify educational attainment. We employed ineqord, a series of graphical and analytical tools that are appropriate for comparing the distributions of ordinal data (Jenkins, 2020).
RESULTS: Females with ED attained higher educational levels than males with ED. Males with ED had lower average educational levels than controls. On average, female controls attained higher educational levels than patients with ED in the eating disorders not otherwise specified or overeating groups. Females with anorexia nervosa, differed from matched controls: While their median was the same, too many participants were in the lower and higher levels of educational attainment. Females with bulimia nervosa had higher educational levels than matched controls on average.
CONCLUSIONS: Educational attainment differs between individuals with and without out ED for all ED diagnoses and in both sexes.