The effectiveness of lived experience involvement in eating disorder treatment: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This systematic review sought to understand the effectiveness of lived experience mentoring, by people recovered from an eating disorder, with clinical samples currently receiving eating disorder treatment. 

Methods: The systematic review was conducted using PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Scopus, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global and reviewing reference lists of included papers. Articles were included if they: (1) were intervention studies that included peer (recovered from an eating disorder) involvement, (2) delivered the intervention to clinical samples (or carers with direct involvement in treatment), (3) were in English, and (4) included quantitative results. 

Results: Eleven studies were included across randomized control trials (RCTs), case series, and a case study; there was variation in quality. Findings varied considerably with some concluding that lived experience mentoring led to significant improvements for mentees, while other studies found no significant differences. Mentor outcomes were often not evaluated. Of those that did assess mentors, there is preliminary evidence for some benefits to participation but also the potential for harm. 

Discussion: There is a need for further research in this area using high-quality RCTs that address the risk of bias. It is important that lived experience peer mentors are monitored on key outcomes, provided with adequate training and ongoing supervision, and are reimbursed for their involvement. 

Public Significance: This systematic review is the first review to focus on the use of peer mentors recovered from an eating disorder contributing to interventions for people receiving treatment for an eating disorder. All included studies present quantitative results. Given the emerging interest of lived experience mentoring, understanding its effectiveness for both mentees and impacts on mentors continues to be of critical importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • eating disorders
  • intervention
  • lived experience
  • mentoring
  • systematic review
  • treatment


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