Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Andrew Makowski

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Morgan Chojnacki

Committee Member

Dr. Cori Arena


Background. Anorexia Nervosa is a chronic, disabling, and costly disease with a higher mortality rate than any other psychiatric illness. Because of the need for medical, psychiatric, and nutritional care, treatment is complex. The current literature supports Family-Based Treatment as a first-line treatment for adolescent patients diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. However, a gap exists between translating family-based treatments into clinical practice. Literature shows that education and understanding providers' attitudes and beliefs are the first steps to successfully implementing family-based treatments.

Purpose. This DNP project aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a family-based treatment education intervention on providers' attitudes, knowledge, and anticipatory use for treating adolescent patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

Methods. A pretest/posttest quasi-experimental study was used for this DNP project. Provider knowledge of anorexia nervosa and family-based treatment was assessed through a 15-item quiz. The current frequency and intent to use family-based therapy approaches were measured using the Therapeutic Strategy Checklist for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa. Attitudes toward family-based treatment were analyzed using the Family-Based Treatment Attitudes Scale. Paired sample t-tests were used to extrapolate findings into statistical data.

Results. Anorexia nervosa mean knowledge scores increased from 56.0 (SD= 18.4) to 92.0 (SD= 10.3), and family-based treatment mean knowledge scores increased from 54.4 (SD= 19.2) to 90.0 (SD15.5). Mean scores regarding family-based treatment strategies also increased. Consistent strategies increased from 26.6 (SD= 5.32) to 32.0 (SD= 6.33), while inconsistent strategies saw a slight increase of 13.3 (SD= 3.06) from 12.1 (SD= 3.23) pre-intervention. Attitudes toward family-based treatments also showed more favorability post-intervention. Mean attitude scores increased from 1.22 (SD= 2.99) to 3.78 (SD= 5.29). Although there was an increase in all scores post-intervention, the knowledge domain was the only one that showed statistical significance.

Conclusions. Family-based treatment is an evidence-based practice recommended as a first-line treatment for anorexia nervosa. There is a gap in translating the evidence into practice. It is suggested that to initiate implementing evidence into practice, the first step is to improve knowledge and attitudes toward the change. This DNP project showed favorable changes in healthcare providers' knowledge, attitudes, and intent to use family-based treatment strategies. These results suggest that a brief educational presentation on family-based treatments could serve as the foundation for healthcare providers to obtain more formal training to deliver family-based treatments.