A systematic review: Solutions to problems caused by age transition between eating disorder services

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Objective: This systematic review examines age transition issues specific to young people with eating disorders, including the extent of, and reasons for, problematic transition. Suggested solutions are examined, with focus on age-integrated services.

Method: PsycINFO, Medline and SCOPUS databases were searched on 4 April, 2022 using two inclusion criteria: (1) a peer-reviewed journal article in English, (2) focus on service transition caused by moving from childhood to adulthood for people with eating disorders. A narrative integration of the content was used.

Results: Of the 17 non-overlapping studies located in the review, 6 involved quantitative data. Problematic transition between age-based services was indicated, where a substantial minority of young people who still require help lose contact with speciality services. A variety of reasons for this problematic transition were identified, including differing and sometimes adversarial cultures between age-based services. While a variety of solutions have been suggested, the least explored was the development of age integrated services; only 3 papers focussed primarily on this.

Conclusion: The consideration of the advantages of integration and the similarities between age-based services suggested that these potentially outweigh the barriers to integration. An implementation science research agenda is required to test this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number2
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • age transition
  • age-integrated services
  • barriers
  • implementation science


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