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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2012 May;20(3):e137-43. doi: 10.1002/erv.2167. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Family-based early intervention for anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.



This study explores whether potential risk factors for anorexia nervosa (AN) can be modified by a family-based Internet-facilitated intervention and examines the feasibility, acceptability, and short-term efficacy of the Parents Act Now programme in the USA and Germany.


Forty-six girls aged 11-17 were studied during a 12-month period and evaluated at screening, baseline, and post-intervention. Parents participated in the six-week intervention.


Twenty-four per cent of girls (n = 791) screened met the risk criteria for AN. Parents accessed the majority of the online sessions and rated the programme favourably. At post-assessment, 16 of 19 participants evidenced reduced risk status. Participants remained stable or increased in ideal body weight and reported decreased eating disorder attitudes and behaviours.


Results suggest that an easily disseminated, brief, online programme with minimal therapist support is feasible, accepted favourably by parents, and may be beneficial for prevention of exacerbation of AN pathology.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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