Feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia nervosa: an observational study conducted in Brazil

Viabilidade, aceitação e eficácia do tratamento familiar para anorexia nervosa em adolescentes: um estudo observacional no Brasil

Gizela Turkiewicz Vanessa Pinzon James Lock Bacy Fleitlich-Bilyk About the authors

OBJECTIVE: There is strong evidence that family-based treatment is effective in cases of adolescent anorexia nervosa. Although family-based treatment has been studied in English-speaking countries, there is a need to examine the generalizability of this approach to non-English speaking cultures. This pilot-study aimed to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of family-based treatment in Brazil. METHOD: Observational study of adolescents with anorexia nervosa (excluding menstrual criteria), as determined with the Diagnostic and Well-Being Assessment, referred for treatment at a specialized center in São Paulo, Brazil. The following data were collected at baseline, at the end of treatment, and after six months of follow-up: weight; height; body mass index; menstrual status; Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire score; and Children Global Assessment of Functioning Scale score. RESULTS: Of 11 eligible patients/families, 9 (82%) enrolled in the study, and 7 (78%) completed the treatment. The mean patient age was 14.64 ± 1.63 years (range, 12.33-17.00 years). The Wilcoxon signed rank test showed statistically significant improvement in weight and body mass index at the end of treatment, as well as after six months of follow-up, at which point none of the patients met the diagnostic criteria for any eating disorder. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that family-based treatment is acceptable and feasible for Brazilian families. Outcomes suggest that the approach is effective in this cultural context, leading to improvements similar to those reported in previous studies conducted in other cultures.

Anorexia nervosa; Family therapy; Adolescents; Evidence-based practice; Treatment outcome


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