Multi-family therapy for eating disorders across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Multi-family therapy for eating disorders across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Zinser, J. O'Donnell, N. Hale, L. Jones, C. J.
European Eating Disorders Review
Eating disorders (EDs) have an estimated prevalence rate of 1%-5% across Europe. Effective adjunct interventions are needed to support the 20%-40% of families whose recovery requires additional support to first line approaches. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to establish whether multi-family therapy (MFT) improves the physical and psychological health of patients and family members. Searches were conducted in PsycINFO, MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library in March 2021. 15 studies (850 patients) met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis demonstrated MFT resulted in significant benefits in weight gain, ED symptoms, patients' and parents' depression symptoms, and parents' negative experiences of caregiving. However, significant improvements were only evident when comparisons were drawn before and after the intervention; these dissipated when MFT was compared to another intervention. There was no evidence MFT improves family functioning, positive aspects of caregiving, nor patient and parental anxiety. Intervention completion rates ranged from 86% to 100% indicating a high level of acceptability. Studies varied with regard to intervention length and structure, follow-up period, and outcome measures utilised; most were rated as moderate or weak in methodological quality. More rigorous and large scale randomised controlled trials are needed to fully assess the effectiveness of MFT.

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Behandling og hjelpetiltak


Psykiske vansker og lidelser



Psykologiske behandlingsmetoder


Organisering av tiltak



Ungdom (13-18 år)

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