Do symptom-specific stages of change predict eating disorder treatment outcome? Journal Article uri icon
  • PURPOSE: Interview methods to assess stages of change (SOC) in eating disorders (ED) indicate that SOC are positively correlated with symptom improvement over time. However, interviews require significant time and staff training and global measures of SOC do not capture varying levels of motivation across ED symptoms. This study used a self-report, ED symptom-specific SOC measure to determine prevalence of stages across symptoms and identify if SOC predict treatment outcome. METHODS: Participants [N = 182; age 13-58 years; 92% Caucasian; 96% female; average BMI 21.7 (SD = 5.9); 50% ED not otherwise specified (EDNOS), 30.8% bulimia nervosa (BN), 19.2% anorexia nervosa (AN)] seeking ED treatment at a diverse-milieu multi-disciplinary facility in the United States completed stages of change, behavioral (ED symptom use and frequency) and psychological (ED concerns, anxiety, depression) measures at intake assessment and at 3, 6 and 12 months thereafter. Descriptive summaries were generated using ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis (continuous) and chi (2) (categorical) tests. Repeated measures linear regression models with autoregressive correlation structure predicted treatment outcome. RESULTS: At intake assessment, 53.3% of AN, 34.0% of BN and 18.1% of EDNOS patients were in Preparation/Action. Readiness to change specific symptoms was highest for binge-eating (57.8%) and vomiting (56.5%). Frequency of fasting and restricting behaviors, and scores on all eating disorder and psychological measures improved over time regardless of SOC at intake assessment. Symptom-specific SOC did not predict reductions in ED symptom frequency. Overall SOC predicted neither improvement in Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) scores nor reduction in depression or trait anxiety; however, higher overall SOC predicted lower state anxiety across follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Readiness to change ED behaviors varies considerably. Most patients reduced eating disorder behaviors and increased psychological functioning regardless of stages of change, indicating the benefits of treatment and effectiveness of treatment-as-usual for overall psychiatric improvement.

  • Link to Article
    publication date
  • 2015
  • published in
  • Behavior Change
  • Eating Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Motivation
  • Self Report
  • Additional Document Info
  • 20
  • issue
  • 1