Is guided self-help family-based treatment for parents of adolescents with anorexia nervosa on treatment waitlists feasible? A pilot trial

Tracey Wade, Susan Byrne, Anthea Fursland, Anna Steele, Simon Wilksch, Jemma Anderson, Yuan Zhou, Nandini Datta, Brittany Matheson, James Lock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the feasibility (recruitment and retention) of an online 12-session guided self-help family-based treatment (GSH-FBT) for families on the waitlist for face-to-face FBT utilizing trainee psychologists to assist carers of children with anorexia nervosa (AN) or atypical AN. Method: The primary outcomes were feasibility of GSH-FBT for families on the waitlist and secondary exploratory outcomes examined improvement of child and parental function. Results: Of 187 eligible families on the waitlist, 24 (13%) expressed interest in the study; 16 (67%) of these families completed baseline, 13 (54%) completed GSH-FBT over a 6-month recruitment period. Children (mean age = 13.92, SD =.86; mean body mass index [BMI] centile = 29.47, SD = 24.80) had an average weight gain of 6 kg (BMI centile effect size = 2.61, 95% CI: 1.77–3.44) and a decrease in eating disorder behaviors (effect size = 1.11, 95% CI:.27–1.95). Improvements also occurred for general mood and behaviors in the child, and the impact of eating disorder symptoms on their functioning. Parents reported improvements in knowledge, skills, and confidence in managing AN. Discussion: Use of this low-cost intervention while families are on the waitlist for FBT is engaging and useful but strategies to improve initial recruitment are needed. Public Significance Statement: Although most eligible families did not enroll in an online 12-session guided self-help family-based treatment for families on the waitlist for face-to-face FBT for anorexia nervosa, families who participated found it engaging. The children experienced improvements in BMI centile, eating and behavior. Parents reported increased confidence, knowledge, and skills. We need to examine how families can be encouraged to participate on online training when on waitlists for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-837
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume55
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • acceptability
  • BMI centile
  • guided
  • online
  • single session intervention

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