Optimizing Fidelity in Family-Based treatment for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa


The University of Chicago is conducting a research study that seeks to improve training in family-based treatment for Anorexia Nervosa.  Currently, there is a need to disseminate effective psychosocial treatments for mental disorders as there is a significant gap between evidence-based approaches and common clinical practice, and practice in eating disorders is no exception.  This study will help to bridge the research-practice gap through bidirectional learning (i.e., therapists will receive training in family-based treatment from the research team, and the research team will learn from therapists about how family-based treatment is implemented in usual community care).

 Aims of the Project

The purpose of this project is to improve therapist training in family-based treatment (FBT) through more effective and focused training methods with greater accessibility.  This two-part study will first explore examine the relation between FBT fidelity and patient outcome through coding audio-taped sessions of FBT.  Based on the key components of FBT (if identified in the first phase of the study), a new focused training and supervision program will be developed.  After training therapists with either standard or focused training, differences in therapist fidelity to FBT and comparative outcomes of the patients will be examined.  The feasibility of this program will also be evaluated.


The primary participants will be community therapists who treat adolescents with anorexia and are interested in learning FBT.  


Phase 1: Video- and audio-taped FBT sessions from completed randomized controlled trials will be coded by experienced independent raters at The University of Chicago and Stanford University for fidelity to the FBT model.  Predictors of fidelity to FBT will be explored, and the relation between fidelity and patient outcomes will be examined.  Based on components of FBT that appear to be particularly important to patient outcome, a focused training will be developed.

Phase 2: Therapists will be randomized to receive either standard training or focused training in FBT. Therapist fidelity to FBT and related patient outcomes will be compared across the two training groups.

 More Information

For more information about this project, please contact Erin Accurso, PhD (eaccurso@uchicago.edu), Postdoctoral Fellow in the Eating Disorders Clinic.

 Principal Investigator

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