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Int J Eat Disord. 2001 Jul;30(1):96-100.

Stage of change as a predictor of response to psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.



This study was designed to test the hypotheses that stage of change is a useful predictor of dropout and that it is related to treatment outcome in patients receiving brief psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa.


One hundred ten patients with bulimia nervosa were randomly assigned treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT). On initial screening, patients were classified as being in the stage of precontemplation, contemplation, or preparation.


Initial stage of change was not related to dropout either before or following randomization. Among all treatment completers, stage of change was related to outcome. Of the patients assigned to CBT, stage of change was not related to outcome. However, stage of change was related to outcome in patients randomized to IPT.


This study suggests that initial stage of change may, under certain circumstances, be a useful predictor of outcome and that its utility as an outcome predictor may vary according to treatment.

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