Anxiety and the development and maintenance of anorexia nervosa: Protocol for a systematic review

E. Caitlin Lloyd, Anne M. Haase, Bas Verplanken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Several aetiological models of anorexia nervosa (AN) hold non-eating/weight-gain-related anxiety as a factor relevant to the onset and maintenance of the disorder. Longitudinal studies that allow assessment of this hypothesis have been conducted; however, the evidence has not yet been aggregated in a systematic manner. The proposed study will systematically review articles describing prospective investigations of the relationship between anxiety and AN development or maintenance, with the aim of providing a balanced summary of current understanding and identifying areas for further research. Methods/design: Electronic databases will be searched for articles investigating the longitudinal influence of non-eating/weight-gain-related anxiety (anxiety disorders and trait anxiety) on the development/maintenance of AN. References of eligible articles will be searched to ensure the identification of all relevant studies. Two independent reviewers will complete the title and abstract, and full-text, screening, with a third independent reviewer resolving any conflicts at each stage. A systematic review will be completed, and the quality of the included studies, as well as the strength of the body of evidence generated, will be assessed and reported. Discussion: Although there are limitations to the present review, understanding the current evidence for the role of non-eating/weight-gain-related anxiety in AN can direct future research that may ensure accurate aetiological models of AN and effective treatments. Systematic review registration: The study is registered on PROSPERO under the reference number CRD42017069644

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2018


  • Aetiology
  • Anorexia nervosa: risk factor
  • Anxiety
  • Longitudinal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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