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The eating disorder inventory as an instrument to explore change in adolescents in family therapy for anorexia nervosa

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Objective: to explore the changes in the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI, Garner et al., 1983; Garner and Olsmtead, 1984) and its sub-scales in the course of two forms of family therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa.

Method: 40 patients (39 female, one male) and their families were randomly assigned to one of two forms of family therapy given over 12 months. (a) A conjoint family therapy(CFT) in which the adolescent was seen exclusively with parents and siblings. This is a well established form of treatment in child and adolescent mental health teams; (b) A control treatment, which is separated family therapy (SFT). In this, the parents were seen as a couple for parent guidance and the patient was seen for supportive counselling. The EDI was applied at baseline, 3 months, 6 months and at the end of treatment.

Results: there were end of treatment between treatment group differences in the global EDI score and in the two sub-scales: Ineffectiveness and Interpersonal Distrust.

Discussion: the EDI was shown to be useful in measuring change in therapy and in differentiating two forms of intervention. CFT seems to be associated with a diminution in a sense of Ineffectiveness and Interpersonal Distrust whereas SFT is associated with no change in these sub-scales. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London and Consultant Psychiatrist Adolescent Eating Disorder Clinic, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, UK 2: General Hospital, Larissa, Greece 3: Section of Psychotherapy and Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, London and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Adolescent Eating Disorder Clinic, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, UK 4: Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK 5: Adolescent Eating Disorder Clinic, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust and Eating Disorder Unit, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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