Social Processing in Adolescents with Restrictive Eating Disorders

Lonely teen sitting at table
Inclusion Criteria:
  • Ages 12-17
  • Currently in treatment for a restrictive eating disorder that meets DSM-5 criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN), avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) or Other Specified Feeding/Eating Disorder (OSFED) 
    • OR no history of psychiatric illness (healthy comparison cohort)
  • Medically stable

Participants will be enrolled within 1-4 weeks of entering treatment.

Eating disorder onset typically occurs in adolescence and young adulthood, times of significant social and emotional change. Previous research in adolescents with anorexia nervosa has revealed differences in social processing in behavior compared to healthy controls, but it remains unclear whether these differences are preexisting or a consequence of the illness. This study aims to improve understanding of this aberrant social processing by evaluating these processes in healthy adolescents and in patients with restrictive eating disorders over time. Web-based computational tasks are employed to provide quantitative metrics of social behavior.



Study Overview:

Study duration is approximately six months. After a brief consent/screening session, participants will be asked to complete three virtual visits at three timepoints: initial (at enrollment), 3 months, and 6 months. Visits will last approximately 2.5-3 hours and include assessment of clinical symptoms and updated information about medications, height, and weight. Each participant and their parent will complete online questionnaires and participants will receive a unique web-link to online games.

Current status: ENROLLING

For more information, please contact Zara Khan at or by calling (214) 648-4617.