The British Journal of Psychiatry
A comparison of lenient and strict operant conditioning programmes in refeeding patients with anorexia nervosa.
S W Touyz, P J Beumont, D Glaun, T Phillips, I Cowie


The present paper compares a lenient and a strict operant conditioning programme in refeeding patients with anorexia nervosa. Sixty-five consecutive in-patients participated in the study. We found no significant difference in the rate of weight-gain between the two treatments. There were, however, a number of practical advantages in using the more lenient programme: it was more economical of nursing time, and patients were more accessible to psychotherapy. The programme was also more acceptable to the patients.