Guided Self-help for Eating Disorders: A Systematic Review and Metaregression

Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2017 May;25(3):148-164. doi: 10.1002/erv.2507. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


Background: Evidence-based self-help is a recommended first stage of treatment for mild-moderate eating disorders. The provision of guidance enhances outcome. The literature evaluating exclusively 'guided' self-help (GSH) has not been systematically reviewed.

Methods: The aim was to establish the effectiveness of GSH for reducing global eating disorder psychopathology and abstinence from binge eating, compared with controls. Results were pooled using random effects meta-analysis and heterogeneity explored using metaregression.

Results: Thirty randomised controlled trials met the inclusion criteria. Results showed an overall effect of GSH on global eating disorder psychopathology (-0.46) and binge abstinence (-0.20). There was strong evidence for an association between diagnosis of binge eating disorder and binge abstinence.

Discussion: Current interventions need to be adapted to address features other than binge eating. Further research is required to help us understand the effectiveness of GSH in children and young people, invariably high dropout rates and how technology can enhance interventions. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: binge eating; metaregression; self-help.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome