Emotionally focused group therapy and dietary counseling in binge eating disorder. Effect on eating disorder psychopathology and quality of life

Appetite. 2013 Dec:71:361-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Sep 21.


Objective: To test the effect on psychopathology and quality of life of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dietary Counseling (DC), and Combined Treatment (CT) in treatment-seeking patients with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and obesity.

Methods: Utilizing an observational study design, 189 obese adult patients with BED were treated by manualized therapy protocols. An independent assessment of health-related quality of life (Obesity-Related Well-Being questionnaire - ORWELL-97), attitudes toward eating (Eating Inventory - EI), binge eating (Binge Eating Scale - BES) and body uneasiness (Body Uneasiness Test - BUT) was performed at baseline, end-of-treatment, and six-month follow-up. These data are the secondary outcomes of a previously published treatment study.

Results: A higher dropout rate was observed in the DC compared to the EFT and CT groups, while body weight decreased significantly in all three groups. Pre-post scores on the BES, BUT Global Severity Index, and EI Hunger subscale significantly decreased in the CT and EFT groups (but not the DC group). At six-month follow-up, 71% of participants in CT and 46% of participants in EFT had a BES score below the threshold of attention for BED (≤16), whereas no participants in the DC group reached this target. Finally the ORWELL-97 score decreased significantly in all groups, but significantly more so in the CT and EFT groups.

Conclusion: Results support the utility of combining EFT and DC in the treatment of patients with BED and obesity, emphasizing the usefulness of techniques focused on cognitive emotional processing for changing eating disorder psychopathology and quality of life.

Keywords: Binge eating; Binge eating attitude; Body uneasiness; Emotionally focused therapy; Obesity; Psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / therapy*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy
  • Counseling*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome