Family-Based Treatment for AN: Higher Dropout Rate Among Hispanic Patients

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February 2006 Volume 17, Number 1
©2006 Gürze Books

A few case studies and controlled trials have shown the effectiveness of family-based treatment (FBT) for anorexia nervosa (AN). Researchers at the University of Chicago recently assessed the effectiveness of FBT among 12 Hispanic teens and 12 Caucasian teens with AN. As reported at the 2005 International Eating Disorders meeting in Montreal, both groups regained weight equally well with treatment despite demographic differences such as parent education and marital status. However, more Hispanic teens dropped out of treatment prematurely than did Caucasian teens (25% vs. 8.3%, respectively).

The two groups were matched based on age, body mass index, and duration of illness. The major differences between the two groups were level of parent education and marital status. All Caucasian patients had at least one parent who attended college, compared to only 25% of the Hispanic patients. The Caucasian teens also had more intact families than the Hispanic teens (92% vs. 67%, respectively.

The greater attrition among the Hispanic teens calls for further study of the potential impact of ethnicity, parent education, marital status and family structure on treatment outcome, according to the authors.

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