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Psychological interventions
Establishing benefit of emotion-focused, carer-based interventions for adolescents with anorexia nervosa
  1. Mark L Norris1,
  2. Jennifer Couturier2
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Psychiatry, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark L Norris, Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, 401 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada; mnorris{at}

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Commentary on: Salerno L, Rhind C, Hibbs R et al. A longitudinal examination of dyadic distress patterns following a skills intervention for carers of adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2016;25:1337–47.

What is already known on this topic

Family-based interventions are considered a mainstay of treatment for adolescents with AN. Although family-based therapy has provided the greatest evidence base, clinicians employ a variety of treatment methods for AN, and fidelity to the first-line approach varies considerably.1 Primary outcomes of studies of adolescent AN are typically limited to patients; little research exists on how carers influence outcomes, and how family dynamics interact with and, in complex cases, potentially maintain the illness.

Methods of the study

The present study reports outcomes from a longitudinal UK 38-site randomised controlled trial that examined the effects of a carer intervention on individuals aged 12–21 years referred for outpatient treatment of AN. One hundred and forty-nine adolescent–primary caregiver dyads were included and were randomised to either treatment as usual (TAU) (n=50) or TAU plus a carer skills intervention (Experienced Carers Helping …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.