Overcoming Anorexia Online RCT (UK)

A Randomized controlled trial of an Internet-based cognitive-behavioural skills package for carers of people with anorexia nervosa

Project: A RCT to test the efficacy of an online cognitive behavioural (CBT) intervention for carers of people with Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The programme www.overcominganorexiaonline.com (OAO) aims to reduce carer distress by providing information about the illness and how to offer effective support.

Target group: Sixty-three carers (relatives, partners or friends) of those with AN were recruited via online advertisement, carer groups and clinical departments.

Settings: OAO has eight online modules designed for carers of people with AN at any age and illness stage.

Intervention: Carers were randomly allocated to receive either the online intervention OAO, with clinician support or allocated to support via Beat, a UK eating disorder charity. Outcomes were assessed at post-treatment (4 months) and follow-up (6 months).

Support offered: Guidance was by a psychologist or psychotherapist with CBT skills and expertise in working with AN. Sessions were up to 20 minutes per week for 4 months. Carers chose telephone or email support. Those who were receiving support from Beat were offered a telephone hotline, an email support service, support groups, a message board and SMS messaging.

Outcomes: Overcoming Anorexia online was show to significantly reduce carer anxiety and depression at post-treatment. Gains were also maintained at follow-up. This was the first ever study to use an online CBT program to reduce the distress in carers of those with anorexia distress.


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Further information: Overcoming anorexia online content is created by Five Areas, and is available under licence from Media Innovations Ltd- a separate company. Please approach Media Innovations for information about access.

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