Reducing Eating Disorder Onset in a Very High Risk Sample with Significant Comorbid Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial

C. Barr Taylor*, Andrea E. Kass, Mickey Trockel, Darby Cunning, Hannah Weisman, Jakki Bailey, Meghan Sinton, Vandana Aspen, Kenneth Schecthman, Corinna Jacobi, Denise E. Wilfley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Eating disorders (EDs) are serious problems among college-age women and may be preventable. An indicated online eating disorder (ED) intervention, designed to reduce ED and comorbid pathology, was evaluated. Method: 206 women (M age = 20 ± 1.8 years; 51% White/Caucasian, 11% African American, 10% Hispanic, 21% Asian/Asian American, 7% other) at very high risk for ED onset (i.e., with high weight/shape concerns plus a history of being teased, current or lifetime depression, and/or nonclinical levels of compensatory behaviors) were randomized to a 10-week, Internet-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention or waitlist control. Assessments included the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE, to assess ED onset), EDE-Questionnaire, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders, and Beck Depression Inventory-II. Results: ED attitudes and behaviors improved more in the intervention than control group (p = .02, d = 0.31); although ED onset rate was 27% lower, this difference was not significant (p = .28, NNT = 15). In the subgroup with highest shape concerns, ED onset rate was significantly lower in the intervention than control group (20% vs. 42%, p = .025, NNT = 5). For the 27 individuals with depression at baseline, depressive symptomatology improved more in the intervention than control group (p = .016, d = 0.96); although ED onset rate was lower in the intervention than control group, this difference was not significant (25% vs. 57%, NNT = 4). Conclusions: An inexpensive, easily disseminated intervention might reduce ED onset among those at highest risk. Low adoption rates need to be addressed in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-414
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Internet
  • eating disorders
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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