Guided self-help for disordered eating: A randomised control trial

Behav Res Ther. 2011 Jan;49(1):25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.10.007. Epub 2010 Nov 2.


Treatment guidelines recommend evidence-based guided self-help (GSH) as the first stage of treatment for bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. The current randomised control trial evaluated a cognitive behavioural therapy-based GSH pack, 'Working to Overcome Eating Difficulties,' delivered by trained mental health professionals in 6 sessions over 3 months. It was congruent with the transdiagnostic approach and so was intended as suitable for all disordered eating, except severe anorexia nervosa. Eighty one clients were randomly allocated to either a GSH or waiting list condition. Eating disorder psychopathology (EDE-Q), key behavioural features and global distress (CORE) were measured at pre- and post-intervention, and 3- and 6-month follow-up. Results showed significant improvements in eating disorder psychopathology, laxative abuse, exercise behaviours, and global distress, with the GSH condition being superior to the waiting list on all outcomes. Treatment gains were maintained at 3 and 6 months. This study adds to the evidence supporting GSH for disordered eating, including EDNOS. However, further work is needed to establish the factors that contribute to observed therapeutic improvements and determine for whom GSH is most suitable.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / physiopathology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*