Discrepancies Between Australian Eating Disorder Clinicians and Consumers Regarding Essential Components of Dietetic Treatment

Caitlin M. McMaster, Tracey Wade, Janet Franklin, Susan Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A recent Delphi study indicated that, compared with eating disorder (ED) consumers and carers, ED specialists were less likely to endorse involvement of a dietitian as a standard component of treatment. In addition, there was disagreement between these groups regarding the inclusion of a number of components of dietetic treatment. Objective: This study aimed to further investigate these data to identify areas of disagreement among ED specialist dietitians, ED specialist non–dietetic clinicians, consumers, and carers with regard to outpatient dietetic treatment. Design and participants/setting: The ED specialists panel from a previous Delphi study was recoded into 2 panels: ED specialist dietitians (n = 31) and ED specialist non–dietetic clinicians (n = 48) to compare responses of these panels with responses from consumers (n = 32) and carers (n = 23). Main outcome measures: Statements in 7 categories relating to referral to dietitian, essential components of outpatient dietetic treatment regarding 4 ED patient populations, strategies to promote multidisciplinary collaboration, and skills dietitians should possess if treating patients with an ED were rated on a 5-point Likert scale. Statistical analysis performed: One-way analysis of variance was conducted with post-hoc multiple comparisons to compare mean statement ratings. Results: Thirty-seven statements (30%) showed statistically significant differences (P <.05) in responses between panels. Discrepancies were primarily observed for statements regarding how and when dietetics is included in treatment and essential components of dietetic treatment, particularly the use of behavioral tasks, such meal plans and self-monitoring. Results also highlighted deficits in participants’ understanding of core responsibilities of dietitians in ED treatment and dietitians “drifting” from delivering evidence-based components of dietetic treatment. Conclusions: Results of this study show discrepancies among ED dietitians, clinicians, consumers, and carers regarding what dietetic treatment for people with EDs should encompass. It also indicates the need for further research into optimizing dietetic treatment for EDs that is conducted in collaboration with individuals with lived experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1543-1557
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number8
Early online date10 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Consensus
  • Delphi technique
  • Dietetics
  • Feeding and eating disorders
  • Outpatient


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