Importance: Interventions to reduce anxiety are needed for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and avoidant– restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Weighted blankets are one such intervention.
Objective: To evaluate the impact of weighted blankets on anxiety for patients with AN and ARFID.
Design: Randomized controlled trial conducted between November 2018 and March 2019. Patients were randomized into the control group or the intervention group.
Setting: Inpatient setting; medical stabilization unit.
Participants: Patients (N = 23) diagnosed with AN or ARFID and experiencing moderate anxiety. The majority were female (91%), with a mean age of 26 yr (SD = 9.3), and the mean length of hospitalization was 22 days (SD = 17.3).
Interventions: Control group participants received usual care, which included occupational therapy services. Intervention group participants received a weighted blanket along with usual care.
Outcomes and Measures: Mixed-effects regression models were conducted. Primary outcomes included improvement in Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores by discharge.
Results: Intervention group patients had a greater, non–statistically significant decrease in BAI score over time (B = 1.16, p = .83) than control group patients.
Conclusions and Relevance: Weighted blankets may be an effective tool for reducing anxiety among patients with AN or ARFID.
What This Article Adds: The use of a weighted blanket, in conjunction with occupational therapy interventions, is potentially a beneficial non-pharmacological option for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and avoidant–restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). The current study adds an additional modality to the multidisciplinary treatment approach for eating disorders.