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Expressed emotion and long-term outcome among adolescents with anorexia nervosa

By Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Rienecke, R. D., Gorrell, S., Blalock, D. V., Smith, K., Lock, J., & Le Grange, D. (in press). Expressed emotion and long-term outcome among adolescents with anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders.

High parental expressed emotion (EE), consisting of high levels of parental criticism, hostility, and/or emotional overinvolvement, has been shown to have significant negative impacts on treatment outcome, treatment dropout, and relapse across a number of medical and psychiatric disorders.  The current study examined parental EE at baseline for 121 adolescents receiving treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN), and its impact on treatment outcome four years later.  Results showed that high EE at baseline had no impact on eating disorder psychopathology, % expected body weight, or self-esteem four years later.  Patients from low EE families had more significant decreases in depression over the first 12 months of treatment, but this difference between low and high EE families evened out over time.  This study is the first to examine long-term impacts of high EE on adolescents with AN, and findings suggest that high parental EE at baseline does not indicate that adolescent patients will fare poorly four years later. 

Written by

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED

Renee D. Rienecke, PhD, FAED, is a clinical psychologist and Director of Research for Eating Recovery Center/Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Centers and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of…
Written by

Dan Blalock

Dan Blalock is a health services researcher in the Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Assistant Consulting Professor in the…
Written by

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, FAED

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he is Benioff UCSF Professor in Children’s Health in the Department of…

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