Anorexia Nervosa

Delusionality of beliefs among 50 adult females with severe and extreme anorexia nervosa upon admission to an acute medical stabilization facility

Eating Disorders
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS


We aimed to evaluate whether the content of eating/body image-related beliefs in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) was associated with important aspects of eating disorder (ED) psychopathology. Females with AN completed assessments within 96 hours of admission to an inpatient medical stabilization program. Study staff administered the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale and participants completed self-report measures. We derived belief content domains using an inductive approach and examined associations between beliefs and clinical variables. The following belief categories emerged (% with a belief in that category): body image beliefs (64%), food beliefs (30%), body function beliefs (20%), rejection of illness beliefs (12%), morality beliefs (10%), and control beliefs (6%). No one belief domain was significantly associated with greater delusional intensity. However, findings indicate that greater delusionality was generally associated with worse ED psychopathology.

Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…
Written by

Kamila Cass, PhD, CEDS

Dr. Kamila Cass is a Clinical Psychologist at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, providing psychodiagnostic assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and crisis intervention…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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