Does family-based treatment reduce the need for hospitalization in adolescent anorexia nervosa?

James Lock, W. Stewart Agras, S. W. Bryson, Harry Brandt, Katherine A. Halmi, Walter Kaye, Denise Wilfley, Blake Woodside, Sarah Pajarito, Booil Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: We examined the timing and number of days of hospitalization during the course of treatment, hospitalization effects on outcome, and predictors and moderators of the use of hospitalization in adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN). Method: Data used in this study were collected from 158 adolescents (ages 12 to 18 years of age) who met DSM-IVTR criteria for AN (exclusive of the amenorrhea criteria) randomized to receive either Family Based Treatment (FBT) or Systemic Family Therapy (SyFT) in a 7 site study. Results: The trajectory of hospital day use is similar in the first 5 weeks irrespective of treatment allocation. However, days of hospitalization continued to increase throughout SyFT but leveled off in FBT after ∼5 weeks of treatment. Early hospitalization was a negative predictor for improvements in percent weight change for both treatment groups (t(1)=2.6, p = 0.011). Co-morbid psychopathology predicted early hospital use in both treatments. Higher levels of eating related obsessions and depression moderated hospitalization rates suggesting that FBT reduces early hospitalization rates compared to SyFT for these subgroups. Discussion: These data support and extend findings from previous studies by identifying patterns of hospital use, and predictors and moderators of treatment effect for early hospitalization use in adolescent AN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-894
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • adolescents
  • anorexia nervosa
  • family therapy
  • hospitalization


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