Family Treatment for Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01280799
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 21, 2011
Last Update Posted : May 19, 2014
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Duke University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
C. Alix Timko, Towson University

January 19, 2011
January 21, 2011
May 19, 2014
May 2009
May 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Body Mass Index (BMI [ Time Frame: 9 months (6 months active treatment, 3 months follow-up) ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT01280799 on Archive Site
Eating Disorder Examination (16.0D) [ Time Frame: 9 months (6 months of treatment and 3 month follow-up) ]
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Family Treatment for Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa
Acceptance Based Separated Family Treatment for Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa

This treatment development study seeks to investigate the most effective way to treat an adolescent's eating disorder and how best to involve the parents or caregivers in this process.

Typically, parents and their child are seen together in therapy. However, this can sometimes be difficult for both the parents and the adolescent. Both parents and adolescents have different concerns and are struggling with different aspects of the eating disorder. Therefore, the treatment in this study involves the parents in treatment, but the majority of therapy sessions are conducted with the parent(s) and adolescent separately.

Participants meet with a therapist for 20 sessions over the course of 24 weeks. For the first 16 weeks parents and the adolescent meet individually with the therapist. For the last 8 weeks families meet with the therapist every other week. These last four sessions are conjoint - that is, adolescents and parents will meet with the therapist together. This is to help parents and adolescents come together as a family to continue to aid the adolescent in the treatment of his/her eating disorder.

The investigators hypothesize that adolescents who receive this treatment will demonstrate improvement in eating disorder symptoms and body-mass index and that caregivers who participate will demonstrate decreased distress and caregiver burden. Furthermore, the investigators hypothesize that increases in psychological acceptance will be seen for both adolescents and caregivers post-treatment, and that treatment will be viewed as both credible and acceptable to both caregiver and adolescent.

The purpose of this study is to develop and gather preliminary data on an acceptance-based behavioral treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN) that is delivered in a separated family format. The treatment will combine a parent's skills curriculum that has demonstrated preliminary effectiveness in the treatment of AN, with a novel adolescent component based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT has been found to be useful in the treatment of an array of psychological difficulties, and may be particularly well-suited for the cognitive and behavioral avoidance and rigidity that characterizes individuals with AN and their caregivers.
Phase 1
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Subthreshold Anorexia Nervosa
  • Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Primarily Restriction
Behavioral: Acceptance-based separated family treatment
Family treatment that combines Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the adolescent with Parent Skills Training for caregivers. The treatment package is designed to increase willingness to experience difficult thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in order to engage in effective behavior. To facilitate this, caregivers are provided with psychoeducation on eating disorders and skills in behavior management, self-regulation, and emotion regulation.
Experimental: Active Treatment
Intervention: Behavioral: Acceptance-based separated family treatment
Timko CA, Zucker NL, Herbert JD, Rodriguez D, Merwin RM. An open trial of Acceptance-based Separated Family Treatment (ASFT) for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Behav Res Ther. 2015 Jun;69:63-74. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2015.03.011. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Not Provided
May 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Adolescent is between 12-18 years of age and living in home with caregivers
  • Parent or primary caregiver willing to attend therapy sessions
  • Adolescent meets diagnostic criteria of anorexia nervosa (either restricting or binge/purge subtype) or subthreshold AN (relaxation of weight criterion to 90% of ideal body weight as determined by weight history and CDC growth curves) or eating disorder not otherwise specified (with restricting as the primary symptom) according to the DSM-IV TR
  • Adolescent is appropriate for outpatient care and receives medical clearance from a primary care physician

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Caregiver or adolescent with a co-morbid diagnosis of psychotic disorder, bi-polar disorder, or substance dependence
  • Caregiver or adolescent with diagnosis of mental retardation or a pervasive developmental disorder
  • Adolescent with a diagnosis of eating disorder not otherwise specified with the primary symptoms of bingeing and purging, binging without compensatory behaviors or spitting food or with restricting patterns but a BMI greater than 90% ideal weight (as determined by weight history and CDC growth curves)
  • Adolescent with extreme malnutrition or other medical complications/ diagnoses that require a higher level of care
  • Acute suicide risk
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
12 Years to 18 Years   (Child, Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
Not Provided
Not Provided
C. Alix Timko, Towson University
Towson University
  • University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
  • Duke University
Principal Investigator: Alix Timko, PhD Towson University/University of the Sciences
Towson University
May 2014

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP