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Ambivalence in Anorexia: Predictive validity of advantages and disadvantages on treatment outcomes

Background:

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is notoriously difficult to treat, and linked with detrimental physical and psychological effects, and even death in severe cases, and several studies have attempted to identify factors which may predict treatment outcome in order to inform and improve upon models of intervention. It has been suggested that one of the greatest hindrances to recovery may be the disorder's egosyntonic nature, meaning that individuals suffering anorexia nervosa often value the disorder and see it as serving important functions.

Determining patient variables which predict successfulness within therapy is important because knowledge of such variables can help tailor treatment and identify those who may be particularly resistant toward recovery at an early stage.

In this vein, the current study aims firstly to validate the P-CAN, a scale used to measure positive and negative attitudes to anorexia and secondly to determine whether patients' attitudes towards their own illness (the degree to which they view it as positive/negative) can predict their outcome in treatment.

Potential benefits of this study are improved models of intervention and better understanding of resistance to AN treatment.

Methodology – Study 1:

Participants:  Female inpatients, daypatients and outpatients aged 16 years and up with a DSM-V diagnosis of AN.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study.

Measures: Self-report measures of attitudes towards AN, eating disorder pathology, and motivation for recovery.

Methodology – Study 2:

Participants: Female outpatients aged 16 years and up with a DSM-V diagnosis of AN commencing individual therapy.

Design: Longitudinal observational study.

Measures: Self-report measures of attitudes towards AN, eating disorder pathology, autism spectrum symptoms, and motivation for recovery.