|resumeang: Currently, without systematic evidence, psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa (AN) in adults draws on psychodynamic, cognitive, and systemic theories. This study assessed the effectiveness of specific psychotherapies in outpatient management of adults with AN. 84 patients with AN (mean age 26.3 yrs) were randomized to 4 treatments: 3 specific psychotherapies--(a) 1 yr of focal psychoanalytic psychotherapy, (b) 7 mo of cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT), or (c) 1 yr of family therapy--or (d) 1 yr of low contact, 'routine' treatment (control condition). At 1 yr, there was symptomatic improvement in the whole group of patients as assessed by weight gain over the course of the year. This improvement was modest, with several patients being significantly undernourished at follow-up. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and family therapy were significantly superior to the control treatment; CAT tended to show benefits but there was no statistically significant difference in weight gain between the CAT and 'routine' treatment groups. Results suggest that psychoanalytic and family therapy are of specific value in the outpatient treatment of adult patients with AN. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved).