Background: Diagnostic outcomes in eating disorder (ED) risk reduction trials are important but rarely reported.
Methods: An online pragmatic randomized-controlled trial was conducted with young-adult women in Australia and New Zealand seeking to improve their body image. Media Smart-Targeted (MS-T) was a 9-module program released weekly while control participants received tips for positive body image. Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) scores from baseline and 12-month follow-up were used to investigate two outcomes: ED onset in those who were asymptomatic at baseline (prevention effects); and, ED remission in those who met diagnosis at baseline (treatment effects).
Results: MS-T participants were 66% less likely than controls to develop an ED by 12-month follow-up (nonsignificant). MS-T participants who met ED criteria at baseline were 75% less likely than controls to still meet diagnostic criteria at follow-up. This effect was significant and remained so for both those who did and who did not access external face-to-face ED treatment during the trial.
Conclusions: While further investigations are necessary, MS-T has fully automated procedures, low implementation costs, the potential to be delivered at-scale to assist those assist those where face-to-face services are limited or not available (e.g., remote areas).
- eating disorders
- risk factors