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Relatively little is known about which psychological treatment adjuncts might be helpful for supporting people with the most severe and complex forms of anorexia nervosa (AN) with very low weight and malnutrition requiring inpatient admissions, but targeting key perpetuating factors such as social emotional difficulties may be one way to advance knowledge. This pilot feasibility project reports on the development of an adolescent adaptation of Cognitive Remediation and Emotion Skills Training (CREST-A) and explores its acceptability, feasibility and possible benefits.
An uncontrolled, repeated measures design was employed with data collected at the start and end of treatment. CREST‑A was investigated in two formats: a 10-session individual format delivered to a case series of 12 patients and a 5-session group format delivered to 3 groups of 9 patients.
Acceptability, measured using a Patient Satisfaction Scale was 7/10 for the individual and 6/10 for the group format. Individual take-up was 100% and group take-up was 34.62%. Drop-out was 8.33% and 29.63% in the individual and group formats respectively. Homework was completed 66.67% and 75% of the time in the individual and group formats respectively. Patients reported medium-sized improvements in components of social emotional functioning measured using the Work and Social Adjustment Scale, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale in the individual and group formats.
Future studies employing randomized controlled designs may now be warranted to advance this evidence base of this low intensity treatment adjunct.