Set-shifting among adolescents with anorexia nervosa


  • Supported by R01 MH082706, K24-MH074457, MH076290, MH082706, MH079978 from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and by Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation, Guilford Press, Institute for Training in Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders.



Set-shifting difficulties are documented for adults with anorexia nervosa (AN). However, AN typically onsets in adolescents and it is unclear if set-shifting difficulties are a result of chronic AN or present earlier in its course. This study examined whether adolescents with short duration AN demonstrated set-shifting difficulties compared to healthy controls (HC).


Data on set-shifting collected from the Delis-Kaplan executive functioning system and Wisconsin card sort task (WCST) as well as eating psychopathology were collected from 32 adolescent inpatients with AN and compared with those from 22 HCs.


There were no differences in set-shifting in adolescents with AN compared to HCs on most measures.


The findings suggest that set-shifting difficulties in AN may be a consequence of AN. Future studies should explore set-shifting difficulties in a larger sample of adolescents with the AN to determine if there is sub-set of adolescents with these difficulties and determine any relationship of set-shifting to the development of a chronic from of AN. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012;45:909–912)