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Psychological interventions
Multifamily therapy may add to the effectiveness of single-family therapy for adolescents with anorexia nervosa
  1. Elizabeth K Hughes
  1. Correspondence to Department of Paediatrics and School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia; Libby.Hughes{at}

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Commentary on: Eisler I, Simic M, Hodsoll JA, et al. Pragmatic randomised multicentre trial of multifamily and single-family therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa. BMC Psychiatry 2016;16:422.

What is already known on this topic

Family therapy for anorexia nervosa (FT-AN) currently has the strongest evidence base for the treatment of medically stable adolescents; however, many adolescents treated with FT-AN do not respond.1 Efforts are therefore being directed at improving FT-AN through adjuncts and adaptations. Multifamily therapy for AN (MFT-AN) is a FT-AN informed treatment in which 5-7 families attend day treatment together. MFT has shown promise in open trials,2 3 but until now no randomised trial has been conducted.

Methods of the study

The study was a two-arm randomised trial conducted across six specialist eating disorder services in and around London, UK. The sample was drawn from consecutive referrals of adolescents (13–20 years) with DSM-IV AN or eating disorders not otherwise specified. For inclusion, participants had to be <86% median body mass index (mBMI) or have lost >15% body weight in the past 3 …

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  • Funding The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is supported by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. Elizabeth Hughes is supported by The Baker Foundation (Australia).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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