Help Us Improve the Maudsley Approach for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa

The University of Chicago is conducting a research study to further develop outpatient psychological treatments for adolescents suffering from anorexia nervosa. The study requires that the adolescent and his/her parents/guardians be interviewed, fill out questionnaires, and then participate in outpatient family-based treatment (AKA the Maudsley Approach). Participants must be between 12 and 18 years of age.  Twelve outpatient visits will be conducted over a 6 month period at no cost.

If you are interested and would like more information, please call us at 773-702-0789 or email

Aims of the Project

The purpose of this project to develop a second level treatment for adolescents whose families need a more intensive form of family-based treatment to help them overcome the behavioral and psychological challenges of anorexia nervosa. Thus, the significance of an advanced treatment for anorexia nervosa as proposed in this study is high if it were to be effective by leading to improved physical health, psychological health, and promote normal development of adolescents with anorexia nervosa.


Primary Subjects

The primary participants are adolescent females and males with Anorexia Nervosa.  In addition, one or both parents/guardians must also be willing to participate in treatment.

  1. Age: 12-18
  2. Diagnosis: Current Anorexia Nervosa or partial Anorexia Nervosa



One or both parents must be willing to participate in treatment and assessments.


  1. A preliminary phone conversation will be scheduled to allow for research staff to provide more information and determine if the participant might be eligible for the treatment study.
  2. A "baseline" assessment is scheduled, which is a preliminary interview with research staff. In this meeting, participants will be assessed more comprehensively to determine if the treatment study is a good fit for the participant and the family. In addition, the adolescent and parent(s) are interviewed and asked to fill out several questionnaires. At this meeting, the family will be given the opportunity to ask questions and make a final decision about whether or not to participate.
  3. Following the baseline assessment, the participant and his/her family is assigned to family-based treatment and treatment will commence.

Background on Treatments Being Used:

There are two phases to this study, which will be recruited for sequentially. First Phase 1 will be completed with 20 participants, and then an additional 25 participants will be recruited into Phase 2. Participants will enter the study in whichever phase we are recruiting for at the time of screening.

Phase 1: The treatment is Family-Based Therapy (FBT) for anorexia nervosa. Those who struggle to show sufficient improvement by study parameters will receive a more intensive format of FBT - Intensive Family Focused Treatment (IFT) - for the remainder of their sessions.

Phase 2: Families will be randomized to one of two treatments: FBT or the more intensive format of this treatment, i.e., IFT.

More Information

For more information, please contact the Project Coordinator at 773-702-0789 or email

Principal Investigator

Daniel le Grange, PhD, Director of the Eating Disorders Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Chicago.