Objective: Treatment guidelines recommend that people with non-underweight eating disorders should receive up to 20 sessions of eating-disorder-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-ED). The present study reviewed ten studies of 10-session cognitive behavioural therapy for non-underweight patients (CBT-T).
Method: We conducted a systematic review using four electronic databases and contacted researchers in the field for unpublished data. Random effects meta-analyses were conducted to pool within-group effect sizes.
Results: From pre-treatment to post-treatment, medium to very large effect sizes were observed for eating disorder psychopathology, clinical impairment, depression, anxiety, and weekly frequencies of objective bingeing and vomiting. Furthermore, the effect of CBT-T appears to last after treatment with eating disorder psychopathology remaining below the norm for non-clinical females at follow-up. The dropout rate from CBT-T was 39%, and 65% of completers achieved a good outcome.
Conclusions: While results should be interpreted as preliminary due to a number of limitations, the present study suggests that CBT-T is a promising treatment for people with non-underweight eating disorders, which can achieve a good outcome in half the time currently recommended in treatment guidelines. The present study, therefore, provides valuable justification for future randomised controlled trials directly comparing short and long forms of CBT-ED as well as examining who does best with which version.
- brief therapy
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- non-underweight eating disorders