Decision-making functioning as a predictor of treatment outcome in anorexia nervosa

Paolo Cavedini, Claudia Zorzi, Tommaso Bassi, Alessandra Gorini, Clementina Baraldi, Alessandro Ubbiali, Laura Bellodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathological eating behaviour of patients with anorexia nervosa reflects a deficit in planning real-life strategies that can be observed in an experimental setting through the Gambling Task, a tool designed to detect and measure decision-making abilities. We examined the role of Gambling Task performance as a predictor of treatment outcome in anorectic patients, and we evaluated changes in decision-making after clinical improvement. Performance on the Gambling Task was evaluated, and a clinical-nutritional assessment of 38 anorectic patients was carried out before and after a cognitive-behavioural and drug treatment program. Task performance of anorectic patients was compared with that of 30 healthy control participants. Patients who had a better decision-making profile at baseline showed significantly greater improvement in nutritional status. The decision-making deficiency of some anorectic patients is probably linked to those individual features that contribute to the phenomenological expression of the disorder and to its different treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2006


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Decision-making
  • Eating disorders
  • Executive function
  • Gambling task
  • Treatment predictors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)


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