L'anoressia nell'adolescente maschio: Revisione della letteratura e contributo casistico

Translated title of the contribution: Male anorexia: Literature review and case reports

U. Balottin, G. Rossi, G. Lanzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is, through description and analysis of a case series, to contribute to the study of a clinical picture that has been assuming growing epidemiological significance in recent years and that has generated debate over the courses and methods of treatment that should be adopted. We describe 11 cases of male anorexia, admitted consecutively to the Department of Child Neurology and Psychiatry of the University of Pavia: mean age at onset 14.7 years. Three subjects also presented purging-type behaviours. All the patients were hospitalised at least once, and then followed up through our outpatient clinics or day hospital services for a period of time ranging from a few months to several years. The patients were also evaluated through the application of psychodiagnostic tests (the Rorschach Test and the Thematic Apperception Test). Our subjects had a reported initial weight of 59 kg and a weight of 38.1 kg at the time of hospitalisation (a loss of 31.1%). The mean time since onset was 10 months. As regards the psychiatric profile of these patients, we found obsessive symptoms in 8/11 cases, hyperactivity in 8/11 cases, depressive symptoms in 7/11 cases, gender identity disorders in 3/11 cases and gender identity disorder traits in 4/11 cases, aggressiveness in 6/11 cases. It is worth stressing the young age of this sample and the fact that it did not include any cases of homosexuality. We also considered significant life events and the role of and effect on family relations. Our findings confirm that problems relating to gender identity and sexual orientation can, at least in some cases, represent a triggering factor for an eating disorder, and in any case probably play an important role in its psychopathogenesis and course. In conclusion, these data appears to confirm the importance of the psychopathological factor, at the level of the individual patient and his family, and the need for global and multidisciplinary treatment based on a psychiatric-psychotherapeutic approach.

Translated title of the contributionMale anorexia: Literature review and case reports
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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