Family-Based Therapy for Young Adults with Anorexia Nervosa Restores Weight

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We examined the preliminary acceptability and efficacy of family-based therapy (FBT) for weight restoration in young adults (FBTY) with Anorexia Nervosa (AN).


Twenty-two primarily female participants ranging from age 18 to 26, with AN or atypical AN (ICD-10) and their support adults were enrolled in a 6-month open trial of FBTY. Participants were assessed at baseline, after treatment, and at six and 12 month follow-up visits. The primary outcome was BMI and secondary outcomes included eating disorder psychopathology, current eating disorder obsessions, and compulsions, number of other Axis I disorders and global assessment of functioning.


Although FBTY was rated as suitable by participants and their support adults, during FBTY, 9/22 participants dropped out and 3/22 dropped out at follow-up assessments. Despite being offered 18–20 sessions over six months, a mean of 12 FBTY sessions (SD = 6) were attended. After FBTY, 15 of the intent-to-treat sample of 22 were no longer underweight (BMIs ≥ 19 kg/m2) and 12 months after treatment, 13/22 were no longer underweight. The magnitude of the BMI increase during FBTY (Hedges g = 1.20, 95th percentile CI = 0.55–1.85) was comparable to findings for adolescent FBT for AN. Secondary outcomes also improved.


FBTY for young adults with AN and atypical AN, which involves support adults participants have chosen, results in weight restoration that is sustained up to a year after treatment. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2016; 49:701–707)

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