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Keywords:

  • psychologic treatment;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • adolescent studies;
  • patient age

Abstract

Objective

Anorexia nervosa (AN) was first described more than 130 years ago, yet few psychological treatments have been formally studied. Our objective was to review the available studies to understand whether these may highlight directions for future investigation.

Method

Medline and PsycINFO were consulted to identify relevant treatment studies. Twenty psychotherapy treatment studies were identified for review. These were divided in terms of patient age (adolescent vs. adult) and type of study (uncontrolled vs. controlled).

Results

Without exception, adolescent studies (uncontrolled or controlled) involved the parents or family in the treatment. The adult studies were much more varied in terms of treatments that were compared. Most studies were statistically underpowered and only one utilized manualized treatments. More recent investigations have attempted to remedy these methodologic shortcomings.

Discussion

The review highlights the effectiveness of one particular treatment modality for adolescents, but emphasizes the compelling need for further and larger systematic investigation into treatments for both adolescent and adult AN. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.