Evaluation of individual cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) for the treatment of young people with anorexia nervosa

Lucia Giombini, Jenny Moynihan, Matteo Turco, Sophie Nesbitt

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Research suggests that there are cognitive inefficiencies underlying Anorexia Nervosa (AN), with CRT showing promise in improving these inefficiencies in adults. This area has yet to be explored in a younger population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of CRT for young people.
A within-subjects design was used to compare the performance of children and adolescents with AN on several neuropsychological measures administered before and after a course of CRT.
Ninety-two female participants diagnosed with AN aged between 11 and 17 (M = 14.8, SD = 1.6), all receiving treatment at a specialist inpatient unit. The assessment consisted of the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure test (ROCFT), the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function–Self-Report (BRIEF-SR), and the D-KEFS Colour-Word Interference Test (CWT). Repeated-measures t tests were used to analyse the ROCFT and BRIEF-SR data. There was a significant improvement in Central Coherence Index (p < .001), Immediate Recall (p < .001), Shift (p < .001) Cognitive Shift (p = 002), Behavioural shift (p < .001), Emotional Control (p < .001), Working Memory (p = .001), Plan/Organize (p < .001), Monitor (p = .001) BRI (p < .001), MI (p = .001), and GEC (p < .001). On the D-KEFS CWT, a repeated-measure Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed a significant improvement in Error Rate (p = .019) and a repeated-measures t test revealed a significant improvement in time taken (p < .001).
Results suggest that CRT for children and adolescents with AN could strengthen specific cognitive domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-673
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2016

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