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Early evaluation of a DBT-informed online intervention for people with eating disorders.

Renshaw-Vuillier, L., Greville-Harris, M., Talbot, C. V., May, L. and Moseley, R. L., 2024. Early evaluation of a DBT-informed online intervention for people with eating disorders. Journal of Eating Disorders, 12, 9.

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Vuillier et al 2024 emotion intervention evaluation.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1186/s40337-024-00974-5


Objectives Eating disorders (EDs) have a worldwide prevalence of 7.8%, with towering mortality rates and high healthcare costs. The current recommended treatment for EDs principally works by directly targeting ED thoughts and behaviours, but recovery rates are low. A multifaceted link between difficulties with emotions and EDs is now widely established, and newer third-wave therapies that aim to address these underlying emotion difficulties are promising. The current study piloted an online emotion self-help intervention which was co-developed with clinicians and people with lived experienced of EDs. The intervention aimed to specifically address difficulties with emotion identification and regulation, as well as unhelpful beliefs about emotions, which are believed to give rise to and maintain ED thoughts and behaviours. Method We recruited 39 people with self-reported EDs to test this intervention over a one-week period. Our participants were asked to complete a series of questionnaires measuring emotion processes and psychopathology on Day 1 (T1) before being given access to the intervention. Participants were then asked to practice the newly acquired skills for seven days, before taking the same questionnaires on Day 9 (T2). We also asked participants to qualitatively report on their experience of the intervention. Results We found significant improvements in ED psychopathology (ED-15), depression (PHQ-9), and anxiety (GAD-7) pre- to post-intervention, with medium to large effect sizes. All our emotion variables namely alexithymia (TAS-20), difficulties regulating emotions (DERS-SF), and unhelpful beliefs about emotions (EBQ) also showed significant changes post-intervention with medium to large effect sizes. Most importantly, changes in emotion regulation processes were linked to improved eating psychopathology. The qualitative analysis corroborated this finding, highlighting how the intervention helped them form new beliefs about emotions, which helped them reduce ED behaviours. Discussion Significant improvements in emotion processing and regulations, as well as psychopathology, along with positive qualitative feedback, suggest that the intervention effectively met its aims of increasing awareness of the link between emotions and eating psychopathology, providing help to identify and regulate emotions, and normalising emotional experiences. While our results are promising, further research is required to assess its effectiveness longer term and in clinical settings.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Eating disorders; Alexithymia; Emotion regulation; Emotion beliefs; Self-help intervention; Online
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39420
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Jan 2024 10:55
Last Modified:25 Jan 2024 10:55


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