School of Psychological Science

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Stephanie Wade

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Stephanie Wade

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Transdiagnostic theory or eating disorders: maintaining factors and their effect on symptom severity and treatment outcomes


The transdiagnostic theory of eating disorders proposes that clinical perfectionism, core low self-esteem, interpersonal problems and mood intolerance can maintain eating disorder psychopathology in some individuals. Studies on the relationships between these four maintaining mechanisms and their individual and collective impact on eating disorder symptoms severity and treatment outcomes are lacking. The current study will be the first to explore eating disorder symptom severity and treatment outcome as a function of these maintaining mechanisms.

Enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-E) is a new individualised treatment based on the transdiagnostic theory of eating disorders. Only one randomised control trial and one effectiveness study have been published on this treatment, and CBT-E has not yet been systematically evaluated in a group setting. The current study will be the first to systematically evaluate CBT-E for use with groups. The current study will also be the first to examine the treatment effects of addressing all four maintaining mechanisms via group treatment, as the individual version of CBT-E addresses only one.

Why my research is important

Eating disorders are highly complex and severe mental illnesses. The most effective treatments (e.g. CBT) for eating disorders still fail to help a substantial number of individuals and are less effective than CBT treatments for other disorders (e.g. anxiety disorders). Research into enhancing the current treatments and extending them to be suitable for a broader range of eating disorders (e.g. EDNOS) is vital.


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM