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“Work WITH us”: a Delphi study about improving eating disorder treatment for autistic women with anorexia nervosa

Field, Sarah L., Fox, John R. E. ORCID:, Jones, Catherine R. G. ORCID: and Williams, Marc O. 2023. “Work WITH us”: a Delphi study about improving eating disorder treatment for autistic women with anorexia nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders 11 (1) , 17. 10.1186/s40337-023-00740-z

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Background: There is an increased prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) in autistic women and this group has poorer treatment outcomes compared to non-autistic women with AN. However, there is little research into improving eating disorder treatment for autistic women. This study investigated how best to support autistic women with AN within eating disorder services. Method: A three-stage Delphi study was conducted with 49 participants with relevant expertise as a researcher, clinician, or expert by experience. Results: A total of 70 statements were generated, with 56 reaching consensus after the final round. Statements reaching consensus made recommendations for adaptations to treatment, staff training, and service organisation. Conclusions: The results highlight the need to distinguish between autism- and AN-related difficulties, accommodate autistic traits such as sensory sensitivities and communication differences, and ensure the autistic voice is present in both the development and delivery of care. Future research should investigate the impact of these adaptations on outcomes. The applicability of these recommendations to autistic people with other eating disorders and of other genders needs to be investigated further.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 January 2023
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:26

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