Family-based treatment (FBT) has been widely accepted as the first-line treatment for children and adolescents with restrictive eating disorders. While this treatment has been widely studied and accepted as best practice, most studies confirming its effectiveness focus on the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). There have been many studies aimed at providing adjunctive treatment to enhance the effectiveness of this treatment, but these benefits have yet to be cumulatively studied. The primary objectives of this study were to 1) summarize the effectiveness of FBT for the wide range of eating disorders, 2) summarize the effectiveness of adjunctive treatments, 3) identify predictors, moderators, and mediators that impact treatment outcomes of FBT, and 4) identify what definitions of remission are being used in the literature. Fifty-two studies were examined and synthesized. Based on these studies, FBT continues to demonstrate effectiveness when used to treat eating disorders, not limited to AN and BN. However, the results varied depending on the outcome measure. Varying predictors, moderators, and mediators of treatment have been identified, such as patient, parent, and family characteristics, severity of eating disorders, specific FBT interventions, and therapeutic alliance, among others. Adjunctive treatments were aimed at either providing greater parental support or addressing the psychological distress of the patient. Participants rated these adjunctive treatments highly and they produced favorable preliminary outcomes. The most common definition of remission for AN was achieving ≥95% EBW and an EDE Global score within one standard deviation of the community sample norms.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Eating disorders in adolescence; Eating disorders in children; Therapeutics

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kathleen Eldridge

Included in

Psychology Commons