European Eating Disorders Review vol:21 issue:3 pages:224-229
Objective: Incompleteness of data is a major problem within clinical follow-up studies. The aim of present study was to compare different statistical models in the management of follow-up data in patients with eating disorders using the Body Attitude Test (BAT).
Method: A prospective longitudinal investigation with repeated evaluations over fixed time intervals was conducted among 807 female patients with eating disorders using the BAT as a dependent-variable. Three types of missing data mechanisms were explored: missing completely at random (MCAR), missing at random (MAR) and missing not at random (MNAR).
Results: Multivariate analysis showed that the MCAR type of missing data mechanism is less reliable than the MAR or MNAR mechanisms. Five years after admission, the body experience of eating disorder patients is less deviant. Compared to normative data, 37% of the eating disorder patients still had a more negative body experience five years after admission.
Discussion: There is no single correct method for dealing with missing data. Therefore, it is recommended that multiple methods be used under different assumptions of absenteeism.