Objective: The study was designed with the aim of determining whether extending group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) would enhance outcome among individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) who failed to stop binge eating after an initial 12-week CBT intervention.
Method: Forty-six participants who met diagnostic criteria for BED were randomly allocated to either a 12-week group CBT intervention or a waiting list control condition. At the end of 12 weeks, treated participants who met clinical criteria for improvement subsequently received 12 sessions of behavioral weight loss. Remaining participants received 12 additional sessions of CBT for binge eating.
Results: Fifty percent of treated participants improved with the initial 12-week course of CBT. There was a strong trend for the extension of CBT to affect improvement in binge eating among initial nonresponders (6 of 14 subjects no longer met diagnostic criteria for BED). Overall, extending CBT led to clinical improvement in 66.7% of all treated participants, with treatment gains occurring through session 20.
Discussion: The results suggest that an extended course of CBT (i.e., longer than 12 weeks) will likely maximize the number of potential responders to treatment.