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The Peter Pan Syndrome: Inpatient treatment of adolescent anorexia nervosa


Specific strategies designed for intervening in family, hospital, community, and school systems are discussed as crucial components in the treatment of adolescent anorexia nervosa. It is suggested that all these systems inadvertently collude in the “Peter Pan Syndrome”: maintaining the adolescent-identified patient in a latency age role in order to protect mother from depression and the family in its entirety from an “empty nest” developmental crisis. When strategic and structural alterations occurred within the above mentioned systems while the child was hospitalized and after discharge, the anorectic symptom was alleviated.

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1983, Fall

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Mirkin, M.P. The Peter Pan Syndrome: Inpatient treatment of adolescent anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Family Therapy 7, 205–216 (1985).

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  • Health Psychology
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Social Issue
  • School System
  • Structural Alteration