A randomized control trial of internet-based cognitive-behavioural therapy for bulimia nervosa or related disorders in a student population.
Project: An RCT in which participants were recruited from six higher education institutions in London, to test the use of an internet based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme for Bulimia Nervosa (www.overcomingbulimiaonline.com) – OBO.
Target group: Seventy-six students who met the DSM-IV criteria for bulimia nervosa (BN) or eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) were recruited via university e-mails or university mail boxes.
Settings: Respondents had a telephone assessment and were offered either a telephone or face to face meeting to introduce the package and obtain consent.
Intervention: Patients who consented were randomly allocated to receive immediate access to OBO with email support, or to waiting list followed by the online CBT package. Eating disorder outcomes were assessed with the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) at baseline, 3 months and 6 months. This provides a gold-standard measure of clinical impact.
Support offered: When using OBO participants had email support from Cognitive Behavioural Therapists with ED experience, for the first 3 months. Therapists sent emails once every 1-2 weeks and responded to any emails received. Their remit was to support and encourage participants to use the package.
Outcomes: Participants who had immediate access to OBO showed significantly greater improvement at 3 and 6 months, in comparison to those who’s treatment was delayed, in eating disorder and other symptoms.