Group CBT Can Reduce Eating Disorder Psychopathology

HealthDay News — A group version of enhanced cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT-E) is effective at reducing eating disorder psychopathology, according to a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Stephanie Wade, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues randomized 40 individuals with eating disorders and a body mass index (BMI) of ≥18 kg/m² to an immediate-start or delayed-start to compare therapeutic effects of group CBT-E with a waitlist control.

The researchers found that the first 8 weeks of group CBT-E were more effective at reducing Global Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) scores than no treatment (waitlist control). A good outcome (defined as a Global EDE-Q within one standard deviation of Australian community norms plus BMI ≥18.5 kg/m²) was achieved by 67.9% of treatment completers. 

Additionally, symptom abstinence was reported by 14.3% of treatment completers. There were also significant improvements in clinical perfectionism, self-esteem, interpersonal difficulties, and mood intolerance.

“This study demonstrated that a group version of CBT-E can be effective at reducing eating disorder psychopathology in a transdiagnostic sample of individuals with eating disorders,” the authors write. “Group CBT-E could provide a means of increasing availability of evidence-based treatment for eating disorders.”

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Wade S, Byrne S, Allen K. Enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders adapted for a group setting [published online August 2017]. Int J Eat Disord. 50(8):863-872