Families tackling adolescent anorexia nervosa: family wellbeing in family-based treatment or other interventions. A scoping review

Signe Holm Pedersen, Dorthe Andersen Waage, Nadia Micali, Mette Bentz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Family-based treatment (FBT) has contributed significantly to the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) in young people (YP). However, parents are concerned that FBT and the active role of parents in the task of refeeding may have a negative impact on family relations. The aim of the review is to assess whether families engaged in FBT for AN are more or less impacted in their family wellbeing and caregiver burden, compared to families with a YP diagnosed with AN, who are not undergoing treatment with FBT. Method: Computerized searches across six databases complemented by a manual search resulted in 30 papers being included in the scoping review. Results: The review identified 19 longitudinal studies on change in family wellbeing in families in FBT-like treatments, and 11 longitudinal studies on change in family wellbeing in treatment where parents are not in charge of refeeding. Only three randomized controlled studies directly compare FBT to treatment without parent-led refeeding. Conclusion: The available research suggests no difference between intervention types regarding impact on family wellbeing. Approximately half of the studies find improvements in family wellbeing in both treatment with and without parent-led refeeding, while the same proportion find neither improvement nor deterioration. As parents play a pivotal role in FBT, there is a need for good quality studies to elucidate the impact of FBT on family wellbeing. Level of evidence Level V: Opinions of authorities, based on descriptive studies, narrative reviews, clinical experience, or reports of expert committees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Attachment
  • Carer burden
  • Family function
  • Family relations
  • Family-based treatment

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