Feasibility of a virtually delivered eating disorder prevention program for young females with type 1 diabetes

Int J Eat Disord. 2021 Sep;54(9):1696-1706. doi: 10.1002/eat.23578. Epub 2021 Jul 10.


Objective: This study aimed to develop a virtual diabetes-specific version of the eating disorder (ED) prevention program the Body Project, and to assess feasibility and preliminary efficacy of this program for young females with type 1 diabetes.

Method: Young females with type 1 diabetes aged 16-35 years were invited to participate in the study. A total of 35 participants were allocated to five Diabetes Body Project groups (six meetings over 6 weeks) and completed pretest assessments; 26 participants completed all sessions and posttest assessments (<7 days after last meeting). Primary measures included ED risk factors and symptoms, and secondary outcomes included diabetes-specific constructs previously found to be associated with ED psychopathology (e.g., diabetes distress and illness perceptions).

Results: The ease of recruitment, timely conduct of five groups, moderate drop-out rate and appreciation of the intervention by participants indicated that the Diabetes Body Project is feasible. Meaningful reductions occurred on the primary outcomes (i.e., ED psychopathology, body dissatisfaction, and thin ideal internalization) and on internalization of appearance ideals and appearance pressures at posttest (Cohen's d ranging from .63 to .83, which are medium to large effects). Small to medium effect sizes were found for diabetes illness perceptions and distress (.41 and .48, respectively).

Discussion: The virtual Diabetes Body Project is a promising and much-needed intervention, worthy of more rigorous evaluation. A randomized controlled trial is warranted to determine its effectiveness compared with a control condition.

Keywords: body dissatisfaction; body image; diabetes mellitus, type 1; feeding and eating disorders; health psychology; population at risk; preventive programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Dissatisfaction*
  • Body Image
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / prevention & control
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Young Adult