A comparison of short- and long-term family therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.35). 08/2005; 44(7):632-9. DOI: 10.1097/01.chi.0000161647.82775.0a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Research suggests that family treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa may be effective. This study was designed to determine the optimal length of such family therapy.
Eighty-six adolescents (12-18 years of age) diagnosed with anorexia nervosa were allocated at random to either a short-term (10 sessions over 6 months) or long-term treatment (20 sessions over 12 months) and evaluated at the end of 1 year using the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) between 1999 and 2002.
Although adequately powered to detect differences between treatment groups, an intent-to-treat analysis found no significant differences between the short-term and long-term treatment groups. Although a nonsignificant finding does not prove the null hypothesis, in no instance does the confidence interval on the effect size on the difference between the groups approach a moderate .5 level. However, post hoc analyses suggest that subjects with severe eating-related obsessive-compulsive features or who come from nonintact families respond better to long-term treatment.
A short-term course of family therapy appears to be as effective as a long-term course for adolescents with short-duration anorexia nervosa. However, there is a suggestion that those with more severe eating-related obsessive-compulsive thinking and nonintact families benefit from longer treatment.

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