Preventing Symptom Progression in Women at Risk for AN: Results of a Pilot Study


Correspondence: Ricarda Ohlmer, Technische Universität Dresden, Endowed Chair for Eating Disorders and Associated Disorders, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Chemnitzer Str. 46, 01187 Dresden, Germany. Tel: 0049-351 463-38570; Fax:0049-351 463-37208.



Despite the need, no targeted (indicated) prevention programs for women at risk for anorexia nervosa (AN) or with restrictive eating and normal body weight are available. Therefore, our aim was to develop a prevention program specific for these risk groups and to assess its feasibility and effectiveness in a pilot study.


Thirty-six women selected by high weight and shape concerns, low BMI and/or high restrained eating participated in a 10-week Internet-based cognitive-behavioural prevention program for AN.


Feasibility, adherence and acceptance were assessed at post-intervention; symptoms of disordered eating and associated psychopathology were assessed at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. The 32 women who finished the study completed 88% of the sessions. Satisfaction with the program was also high. AN-specific eating and associated psychopathology improved significantly and differentially in the three weight-related subgroups.


Overall, the results of this pilot study are promising. The efficacy of this indicated preventive intervention should be tested in a larger randomized controlled trial. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.