Evaluating Evidence-Based Interventions in Low Socio-Economic-Status Populations.

Marcela Radunz, Luke Pritchard, Eloisa Steen, Paul Williamson, Tracey Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Socio-economic-status (SES) has rarely been reported or investigated in eating disorders (EDs) research. This Research Forum considers, from various perspectives, how SES may impact on evaluating evidence-based treatments for EDs.

We first reviewed previous literature that informs how SES impacts prevalence of EDs, help-seeking, and treatment outcome. We then present findings from a case series effectiveness study of an early intervention program in low SES areas for EDs and discuss implications about the impact of SES on the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions. Finally, we examine barriers to conducting rigorous evaluations in this population and discuss directions for future treatment outcome research.

Evidence suggests a higher level of disordered eating but less help seeking in lower SES groups. In our case series, 96 participants started treatment and completed a mean of 13.85 sessions, 84 (87.5%) completed a mean of 6.40 sessional measures on ED cognitions and behaviors, but only 31% completed more extensive pre-treatment and post-treatment measures. The completer effect size decrease for the global Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire score was 2.05 (95% CI: 1.43, 2.68) commensurate with other effectiveness studies in mixed SES groups. The high rates of missing data related to more extensive assessment present a barrier to evaluating evidence-based treatments in this population.

Evidence from the present study revealed individuals from low SES can achieve similar treatment outcomes to other populations when receiving evidence-based ED treatment. Future studies should investigate a range of approaches to maximizing data collection, including use of shorter sessional measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1895
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number10
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • early intervention
  • eating disorders
  • evidence-based
  • socio-economic-status
  • treatment


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