Changes in meal-related anxiety predict treatment outcomes in an intensive family-based treatment program for adolescents with anorexia nervosa

Kellsey N. Smith*, Jessica L. Van Huysse, Renee D. Rienecke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Meal-related anxiety in individuals with eating disorders is associated with reduced caloric intake and persisting eating-disordered behaviors, which may reduce the likelihood of attaining or sustaining remission. The current study is the first to examine changes in meal-related anxiety as a predictor of outcomes in the context of a family-based partial hospitalization program. A sample of 51 adolescents with anorexia nervosa or atypical anorexia rated anxiety before and after all treatment meals using the Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS). Regression analyses suggested that participants experiencing a greater reduction in meal anxiety endorsed fewer eating disordered symptoms on the EDE at the end of treatment. Reductions in meal anxiety did not predict EBW at end of treatment, which could be because family-based treatment (FBT) supports adequate food intake regardless of meal anxiety (i.e., parents ensure food intake). Findings suggest that reductions in meal-related anxiety may be an important predictor of outcomes in family-based interventions, and future research is needed to examine if directly targeting meal anxiety may enhance outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEating Disorders
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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