Patient expectations of a new treatment for eating disorders combining guided physical exercise and dietary therapy: an interview study of women participating in a randomised controlled trial at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences

BMJ Open. 2019 Apr 20;9(4):e025344. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025344.


Objectives: To study the expectations women with bulimia nervosa (BN) or binge eating disorder (BED) had to a new treatment programme based on guided physical exercise and dietary therapy.

Design and participants: Semistructured interviews were conducted with six women with BN and four women with BED following a group-based therapy programme. Transcribed interviews were analysed using a text-condensing analytic approach.

Results: The analysis resulted in three main categories, that is, expectations about (1) increased knowledge, (2) symptom changes and (3) therapeutic expertise. The women expected that learning more about nutrition and physical exercise would give them more energy, less fear of food, physical and mental symptoms and a negative body focus. They also expected therapists to be professional and competent, and able to take care of them.

Conclusion: The overall high and positive treatment expectation can, to some extent, reflect enthusiasm about a new and innovative approach to treatment. However, the results also reflect generic and highly adequate outcome expectations, which for the purpose of effectiveness should be incorporated into all treatment efforts at least for patients with eating disorders.

Trial registration number: NCT02079935; Results.

Keywords: clinical trials; eating disorders; mental health; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / therapy*
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy*
  • Diet Therapy / psychology*
  • Exercise Therapy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

Associated data