JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Does continuing family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia nervosa improve outcomes in those not remitted after 20 sessions?

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to investigate the benefit of ongoing family-based treatment (FBT) sessions for adolescent anorexia nervosa if remission criteria were not met at session 20.

METHOD: Participants were 69 medically unstable adolescents with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed; DSM-IV) anorexia nervosa from a randomized controlled trial investigating length of hospital admission prior to outpatient FBT. Participants were divided post hoc into those meeting remission criteria at session 20 ( n = 16), those that had not remitted but continued with FBT ( n = 39) and those who ceased FBT undertaking alternative treatments ( n = 14). Outcome was assessed as remission and hospital readmission days at 12 months after FBT session 20.

RESULTS: There were no differences between groups at baseline. There was a significant difference in the use of hospital admission days with those in the Alternate Treatment Group who did not continue with FBT using 71.93 days compared to those in Additional FBT Group with only 12.51 days ( F(2, 66) = 13.239, p < .01). At 12 months after FBT session 20, the Additional FBT Group had a 28.2% increase in remission rate, significantly higher than those in the Alternate Treatment Group (χ2 (2) = 17.68, p  < .001).

DISCUSSION: Continuing FBT after session 20 if remission is not achieved can significantly reduce hospital readmission days and improve remission rates.

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