Appreciating Anorexia: Decisional Capacity and the Role of Values

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Anorexia Nervosa; Mental Competency; Decision Making




Tan and her colleagues (2006) reported that persons with anorexia nervosa typically manifest no difficulty satisfying the criteria for abilities associated with competence to consent to or refuse treatment. Their results led them to conclude that these patients generally had no problem grasping the nature of anorexia and its possible consequences (understanding), typically did not have difficulty processing information when making treatment decisions (reasoning), and usually neither denied that they had a disorder nor manifested distorted beliefs about the potential consequences of treatment for the disorder. Nevertheless, these authors found, some anorexia patients said that they knew they might die and that they would rather die than suffer the alternative consequences (e.g., loss of identity, feeling of being disgusting). They point out that these beliefs, suggesting questionable competence, were not identified by the usual criteria for competence to consent to treatment. Therefore, they propose that we should consider a modification of the... [abstract incomplete]


Grisso, T., & Appelbaum, P. (2006). Appreciating anorexia: Decisional capacity and the role of values. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 13, 293-297.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology, 13, 293-297.