Fifty-one teenage cases with anorexia nervosa (AN) were compared with 51 age-, sex-, and school-matched cases with respect to premorbid developmental, physical, and psychiatric problems and comorbidity at the time of examination. Almost half of the AN group consisted of the total population of AN cases in one birth cohort. There were more premorbid personality problems in the AN group. Obsessive compulsive problems were very common in this group, as was undue concern about physical appearance. Depressive symptoms during the course of the eating disorder were almost universal in the AN group, but it did not appear that such symptoms had preceded the eating disorder. It seems that there may be a number of subgroups with AN and that the majority of these can be better understood in the light of factors intrinsic to the patients themselves rather than in the context of deviant family interaction.