Anorexia nervosa: Valued and visible. A cognitive-interpersonal maintenance model and its implications for research and practice.Ulrike Schmidt1* and Janet Treasure2

1 Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
2 Department of Psychiatry, Guy’s Campus, London, UK

Abstract :

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is highly valued by people with the disorder. It is also a highly visible disorder, evoking intense emotional responses from others, particularly those closest to the person. A maintenance model of restricting anorexia nervosa, combining intra- and interpersonal factors is proposed. Four main maintaining factors (perfectionism/cognitive rigidity, experiential avoidance, pro-anorectic beliefs, response of close others) are suggested and the evidence supporting these is examined. These factors need to be integrated with what is known about starvation-related maintenance factors. This model departs from other models of AN in that it does not emphasize the role of weight and shape-related factors in the maintenance of AN; that is, it is culture-free. Implications for clinical practice and research are discussed.