Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anorexia nervosa: a systematic review

About this resource

Evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies for anorexia nervosa (AN) is inconsistent. There have been no systematic reviews solely on the effectiveness for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for AN. This review aimed to synthesise and appraise the recent evidence for CBT as a treatment for AN. Using specific search criteria, 16 relevant articles were identified which evaluated CBT alone or as part of a broader randomised/non-randomised trial. Various formats of CBT were utilised in the reviewed papers. Studies were evaluated using established quality criteria. The evidence reviewed suggested that CBT demonstrated effectiveness as a means of improving treatment adherence and minimising dropout amongst patients with AN. While CBT appeared to demonstrate some improvements in key outcomes (body mass index, eating-disorder symptoms, broader psychopathology), it was not consistently superior to other treatments (including dietary counselling, non-specific supportive management, interpersonal therapy, behavioural family therapy). Numerous methodological limitations apply to the available evidence. Further research and ongoing review is needed to evaluate the settings, patient groups and formats in which CBT may be effective as a treatment for AN.

AuthorGalsworthy-Francis L

Allan S
JournalClinical Psychology Review

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