Relapse prevention in anorexia nervosa: Experiences of patients and parents

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2018 Oct;27(5):1546-1555. doi: 10.1111/inm.12456. Epub 2018 Mar 24.


One of the main aims of treatment after successful recovery from anorexia nervosa (AN) is to prevent a relapse. The Guideline Relapse Prevention (GRP) Anorexia Nervosa offers a structured approach to relapse prevention. This study explores how patients and their parents experience working with the guideline. It also describes the factors that support or hinder successful application of the guideline. A descriptive qualitative research design was chosen involving in-depth interviews with seventeen patients with anorexia nervosa and six sets of parents. Patients and family members were generally satisfied with the support provided by the GRP. It contributed significantly to a better understanding of the personal process of relapse. Patients and families valued being able to keep in touch with their professional during the aftercare programme. The GRP supports the patient's use of self-management strategies for relapse prevention.

Keywords: anorexia nervosa; patient's perspective; relapse intervention; relapse prevention; self-management.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / prevention & control*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Secondary Prevention / methods
  • Self-Management / psychology
  • Young Adult