Effectiveness of spouse involvement in cognitive behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder

Int J Eat Disord. 2003 May;33(4):421-33. doi: 10.1002/eat.10152.


Objective: This study examined whether involving the spouse in group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for binge eating disorder (BED) enhances treatment outcome relative to standard group CBT.

Method: Ninety-four overweight women with BED were randomly assigned to either (1) standard group CBT, (2) group CBT with spouse involvement, or (3) a wait-list control group. Eating and general psychopathology assessments were completed at baseline, after treatment, and at 6-month follow-up.

Results: Although both CBT groups fared significantly better than the wait-list control group on measures of binge eating, weight, eating psychopathology, and general psychopathology, CBT with spouse involvement did not result in any additional benefit over and above standard CBT.

Discussion: These results are in contrast to the success of spouse involvement in the treatment of several other physical and psychological disorders. Possible reasons for this disparity, and suggestions for improving spouse involvement in BED treatment, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Self Concept
  • Spouses / psychology*