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Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2008 Apr-Jun;20(2):79-86. doi: 10.1080/10401230802017068.

The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy on changing eating disorder symptoms and psychopathology of 32 anorexia nervosa patients at hospital discharge and one year follow-up.

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Department of Psychiatry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.



This study aims to assess changes in core eating disorder psychopathology (Eating Attitudes Test, EAT; Eating Disorders Inventory-2, EDI-2), depression (Hamilton Rating Scale, HRSD; Beck Depression Inventory, BDI) and general psychopathology (MMPI-2) after inpatient treatment and one-year follow-up among patients diagnosed with anorexia.


Thirty-two patients were treated for anorexia nervosa on an inpatient unit, and were assessed before and after treatment. The inpatient milieu was designed to use cognitive therapy as the primary therapeutic intervention, along with weight restoration.


At discharge, all patients displayed significant change in core eating disorder psychopathology in their depressive symptoms, as well as in general aspects of psychopathology. At one-year follow-up, changes in some areas of core eating disorder psychopathology and depressive symptoms continued to be significantly different than from admissions.


The combination of CBT and weight restoration can significantly reduce eating disorder symptoms, depression, and general psychopathology during hospitalization, with some sustained benefit over a one year period. Future research is needed to identify the effect of CBT on anorexia nervosa during a wide variety of treatment settings. Also, research must focus on the influence of outpatient treatment in the outcome of anorexia nervosa.

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