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Int J Eat Disord. 2008 May;41(4):307-17.

The quality of treatment of eating disorders: a comparison of the therapists' and the patients' perspective.

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Centre for Eating Disorders Ursula, Leidschendam, The Netherlands.



The aims of this study were to investigate the quality of treatment of eating disorders (EDs) from the therapists' and patients' perspective and to compare their views.


The Questionnaire for Eating Problems and Treatment (QEPT) was administered to 73 therapists working with patients with ED, to 156 current ED and 148 former ED patients. The QEPT addresses the quality of treatment of EDs. ED diagnosis was assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. Answers were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.


Both therapists and patients most often mentioned focus of treatment, therapeutic alliance, and communicational skills as important aspects of the quality of treatment. However, they valued similar topics differently. Therapists valued the focus on ED symptoms and behavioral change more highly, whereas patients underscored the importance of the therapeutic relationship and addressing underlying problems. Most therapists work from a cognitive behavioral orientation, but protocol-based treatment was not found important.


There is an avid need for dissemination of evidence-based treatment. Therapists' and patients' views supplement current evidence-based knowledge on treatment quality of EDs. Optimal treatment of EDs will be facilitated when these three bodies of knowledge-the available evidence and the therapists' and patients' views-are integrated.

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