Eating Disorders Community Survey

Project: A Survey of Attitudes towards Computerized Self-Help for Eating Disorders within a Community-Based Sample (UK)

Target group: Two-hundred and fifty-three community recruited participants with bulimic symptoms completed the survey. The sample was recruited primarily online with a mean age of 29.11 years (range: 16-64 yrs).

Settings: Community based online survey.

Method: Participants completed a survey that investigated their attitudes towards online self-help for eating disorders and the support required whilst using such an approach.

Outcomes: Attitudes towards online self-help (SH) for eating disorders were very positive. The inclusion of some form of support to accompany such an intervention was important to the majority of participants.

Remote mediums of support such as e-mail, a forum and text messaging were most often selected as helpful. Most participants expressed a preference for weekly support contacts and for flexible support lengths that could respond to support needs as required.

What else?

Participants’ comments regarding the advantages of guided online self-help for eating disorders:

“They would be easy to access – no waiting list and can be more interactive than a book.”

“It feels like a less pressured way of getting help.”

“Easy to access anytime daily rather than relying on weekly clinical visits.”

“The help in my area told me there is a 3–4 month waiting list so internet is my last hope right now.”


Many also outlined the expected benefits of having a support worker to guide them through a self-help package for eating disorders:

“I would like to know I was going in the right direction.”

“To monitor progress and to keep people on track.”



McClay, C.-A., Waters, L., Schmidt, U., and Williams, C. (2016) A survey of attitudes towards computerized self-help for eating disorders within a community-based sample. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 44(1), pp. 65-78. (doi:10.1017/S1352465814000484) (PMID:25430776)

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