Cognitive Remediation and Emotion Skills Training for Anorexia Nervosa: An Observational Study Using Neuropsychological Outcomes


Dr. Kate Tchanturia, PO59 King's College London, Division of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, London, SE5 8AF, UK.




This study aims to evaluate a novel and brief skills-based therapy for in-patients with anorexia nervosa, which addressed ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ cognition.


Eighty one adults with anorexia nervosa were recruited from two eating disorder in-patient units. In one unit, patients received 10 sessions of cognitive remediation and emotion skills training (CREST) plus treatment as usual. In the other, patients received treatment as usual only. Primary outcomes were body mass index and neuropsychological performance scores.


Both groups improved significantly in body mass index and cognitive flexibility. The CREST group also improved on central coherence. Neither group improved significantly on emotion-processing tasks, although the CREST group did show a larger magnitude of change.


Improvement in ‘cold’ cognition was achieved in a short period, whereas emotion-processing difficulties might take longer and more therapeutic work to change. Given that effect sizes in the CREST group were larger for the emotion-processing tasks, improved power may benefit future studies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.